S&P 500 Dividend Payouts Increased 6.9% in Third Quarter
(Bloomberg) -- Dividend payments from S&P 500 companies continued to climb in the third quarter on the back of consecutive quarters of double-digit earnings growth and changes to tax laws championed by the Trump administration.
Among index members, 383 companies declared $117.2 billion in combined cash dividends, a 6.9 percent increase from a year ago. Seventy-five companies boosted dividends, down from 84 in the third quarter of 2017, while 17 companies accelerated the payments.
- Union Pacific accelerated its dividend payment for the third time in one year to 80 cents per share, more than 30% higher from the same quarter last year
- Altria Group increased dividend by 14% which is the highest increase in its history
- BlackRock, Charles Schwab and Zions Bancorp are among the 9 financial companies to increase dividends, a slower pace from 19 companies in second quarter after the stress test for financials
- Kraft Heinz and Tyson Foods halted yearly dividend increases for the first time since 2015 and 2013, respectively.
REITs Take Spotlight
In the fourth quarter, there are 10 REITs and 8 healthcare companies expected to increase dividends. Real estate investment trusts have the highest dividend yield among the 11 sectors in the S&P 500 Index. The timing of increases is expected, "as the REITs companies tend to increase dividend once a year, many of them do it in the fourth quarter based on their expectation of where earnings will be in the coming 12 months." said Jeffrey Langbaum, a Bloomberg REIT analyst.
To access the dividend report, BPS, click on "Derivatives", then "Dividend Forecasting", then S&P 500 Index BDVD Quarterly report or click, HERE.
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