Unexpectedly Intriguing!
05 October 2021

September 2021 closed out a strong quarter for dividend paying stocks in the U.S. stock market. Our first chart shows the number of dividend increases and decreases for each month from January 2004 through September 2021:

Number of Public U.S. Firms Increasing or Decreasing Their Dividends Each Month, January 2004 through September 2021

Here's the dividend metadata for the month, which compares September 2021 with the previous month of August 2021 and the year-ago month of September 2020.

  • 5,205 U.S. firms declared dividends in September 2021, a decline of 55 from the 5,260 recorded in August 2021. That figure is also an increase of 1,607 over the 3,598 recorded in September 2020.
  • There were 54 U.S. firms that announced they would pay a special (or extra) dividend to their shareholders in September 2021, a decline of one from the 55 recorded in August 2021 and an increase of 36 over the 18 recorded in September 2020.
  • 70 U.S. firms announced they would increase their dividends in September 2021, a decline of 99 from the 169 recorded in August 2021 and an increase of 9 over the 61 recorded in September 2020.
  • Eight publicly traded companies cut their dividends in September 2021, an increase of one over August 2021 count. That's a decrease of 4 from the 12 recorded in September 2020.
  • Zero U.S. firms omitted paying dividends in September 2021, the same as August 2021. Year over year, that's down 18 from September 2020's figure.

Since we've reached the end of the third calendar quarter of 2021, we've visualized summarized Standard and Poor's data for dividend rises and reductions for each quarter from 2020-Q3 through the just completed 2021-Q3:

Number of U.S. Firms Increasing or Decreasing Dividends by Quarter, 2020-Q3 through 2021-Q3

This chart is a new presentation for us, where we set the vertical scale to accommodate the best (2014-Q1's 819 dividend rises) and worst (2020-Q2's 305 dividend cuts) quarters for the dividend changes reported by S&P since 2004-Q1. It also provides a quick way to visually compare quarterly data over the past year.

Reference

Standard and Poor. S&P Market Attributes Web File. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 1 October 2021.

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