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Worst Year On Record For U.S. Common Dividends; 2010 Expected To Improve

Posted by: Howard Silverblatt on January 7, 2010

Data in the file (release, stats, issues) is for the full U.S. common market, S&P 500 and S&P 1500 data is after that
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Data for the full U.S. common market:

Worst year on record for dividends (from 1955)
Fewest increases: 1,191 increases is a drop of 36.4% from the 1,874 of 2008, and a 52.6% decline from the 2,513 of 2007
Most decreases: 804 decreases is a 631% gain over the 110 decreases of 2007
Domestic dividend cuts cost investors $58 billion in 2009, which will reduce future payments for year
It will take to 2012-2013 to just get back to 2007-2008

Data supports our belief that we have turned the corner on dividends
Q4 shows stabilization of increases, fewer decreases
Expect slow recovery, as companies make sure that their products and their business lines are recovering
Estimate 2010 domestic common dividend payments to be up 5%, with the second half better than the first

If however the economy slows, more government stimulus is needed (different than supports for housing or accelerated depreciation legislation), or unemployment tests the 10.8% Dec,’82 high, dividends will falter, with another round of dividend cuts. But under that scenario, dividends might be the least of our problems.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ben Steverman focuses on the latest moves in financial markets and emerging trends in stocks, bonds, and funds, always with an eye toward giving readers a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and often chaotic world of money. Standard & Poor’s senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt will also provide his take on companies’ finances and the markets. Voted one of the “Top 100 Finance Blogs” in 2007.

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