Unexpectedly Intriguing!
November 3, 2020

October 2020 proved to be a very strong month for dividend paying stocks. Almost all dividend metrics for the month were up over September 2020's recorded levels. Let's go straight to October 2020's dividend metadata to run thorugh the numbers:

  • 3,032 U.S. firms declared dividends in October 2020, a decrease of 566 from the 3,598 recorded in September 2020. That figure is also 160 lower than what was recorded a year ago in October 2019.
  • Some 33 U.S. firms announced they would pay a special (or extra) dividend to their shareholders in October 2020, an increase of 15 over the number recorded in September 2020 and 8 lower than what was recorded a year ago in October 2019.
  • A total of 185 U.S. firms announced they would boost cash dividend payments to shareholders in October 2020, an increase of 124 over the number recorded in September 2020, and an increase of 33 over the total recorded in October 2019.
  • Just 13 publicly traded companies cut their dividends in October 2020, an increase of 1 over the number recorded in September 2020 and also a decrease of 4 from the 17 recorded in October 2019.
  • One U.S. firm omitted paying their dividends in October 2020, a decrease of 17 from the number recorded in September 2020. That figure is also a decrease of 1 from the total of 2 firms that omitted paying dividends back in October 2019.

The following chart shows the monthly history of U.S. stock market dividend rises and decreases from January 2004 through October 2020. Please click here to see a large version of the chart.

Number of Public U.S. Firms Increasing or Decreasing Their Dividends Each Month, January 2004 - October 2020

Our cumulative near real time-sampling of dividend cuts and omissions data through the current quarter of 2020-Q4 captured just a handful of dividend cutting firms during October 2020. Compared to the fourth quarters of 2017, 2018, and 2019 however, we find that 2020 is running far below the samplings recorded in each of these years during the same month. Please click here to access a full size version of the chart showing the cumulative number of dividend cuts and suspensions during each of these past quarters, and the current quarter to date.

Cumulative Total Dividend Cuts in U.S. by Day of Quarter, 2017-Q4 vs 2018-Q4 vs 2019-Q4 vs 2020-Q4, Snapshot 2020-10-30

We weren't kidding when we said we only found a handful of dividend cut announcements in our sampling of dividend reduction announcements for October 2020. Here are the five we found:

Previously on Political Calculations

We've been listing the firms that have announced dividend cuts or suspensions from our near real-time sampling of these declarations in our previous editions. Please follow these links to see all the dividend cuts and suspensions we've tracked during the coronavirus recession.

References

Standard and Poor. S&P Market Attributes Web File. [Excel Spreadsheet]. 30 October 2020.

Seeking Alpha Market Currents. Filtered for Dividends. [Online Database].

Wall Street Journal. Dividend Declarations. [Online Database when searched on the Internet Archive].

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