New York — S&P Dow Jones Indices today announced that the indicated dividend net increases (increases less decreases) for U.S. domestic common stocks was $11.8 billion during Q1 2019, down from Q1 2018’s $18.8 billion increase.
For Q1 2019, aggregate increases amounted to $16.5 billion, down from Q1 2018’s $19.9 billion. Aggregate dividend cuts increased to $4.8 billion from $1.0 billion for Q1 2018.
For the 12-month period ending in March 2019, net dividends rose $51.3 billion, compared to a gain of $45.1 billion for the prior 12-month period, as increases were $63.1 billion versus $57.5 billion, and decreases were $11.8 billion compared to $12.5 billion for the prior period.
“Overall U.S. dividends continued upward for the Q1 2019 period, but the rate of growth was considerably down from a year ago when companies rushed to pass along some of their tax savings that took effect that quarter,” said Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Record amounts were paid in dividends and buybacks in 2018, with buybacks remaining the favorite. In Q1 2019, dividends have increased, but at a slower growth rate than 2018, when companies significantly increased their payment.
On a per share basis, Q1 2019 dividend payments for the S&P 500 increased 9.3% to $13.98, from the Q1 2018’s $12.79, but fell short of the Q4 2018 record of $14.19, which is historically consistent with payment patterns.
On an aggregate basis, index components paid $117.3 billion in dividends this quarter, up from $109.2 billion for Q1 2018 and down from the record $119.8 billion in Q4 2018.
Additional findings from S&P Dow Jones Indices’ quarterly analysis of the dividend activity of U.S. traded issues include:
Dividend Increases (defined as an increase in dividend payments):
- 777 dividend increases were reported during Q1 2019, compared to 948 during Q1 2018, an 18.0% year-over-year decline.
- Total dividend increases were $11.8 billion for the period, down from $18.8 billion for Q1 2018.
- For the 12-month period, 2,597 issues increased their payments, compared to 2,709 issues for the prior period, a 4.1% decrease.
- Total dividend increases were $63.1 billion for the 12-month period, up from $45.1 billion for the prior period.
Dividend Decreases (defined as either a decrease or suspension in dividend payments):
- 108 issues decreased dividends during Q1 2019, compared to 167 during Q1 2018, a 35.3% yearover- year decrease.
- Dividend decreases were $4.8 billion for period, up from $1.0 billion for Q1 2018.
- For the 12-month period, 344 issues decreased their dividend payments, compared to 446 decreases during the prior period, a 22.9% year-over-year decrease.
- Dividend decreases were $11.3 billion for the 12-month period, up from $10.0 billion for the prior period.
Non-S&P 500 domestic common issues:
- The percentage of non-S&P 500 domestic dividend-paying common issues decreased to 30.4%, down from 31.5% for Q4 2018.
- The weighted dividend yield for paying issues was 3.56%, down from 4.01% for Q4 2018. The average yield increased to 3.78%, down from 4.20% for Q4 2018.
Large-, Mid-, and Small-Cap Dividends:
- 418 issues, or 82.8%, within the S&P 500 currently pay a dividend, up from 415 (82.2%) for Q4 2018. All 30 members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average® pay a dividend.
- 68.8% of S&P MidCap 400® issues now pay a dividend, down from 69.8% for Q4 2018; 52.2% of S&P SmallCap 600® issues pay a dividend, up from 51.9% in Q4 2018.
- Yields across market-cap sizes decreased from Q4 2018 as the market increased. Large-cap yields decreased to 2.01% (2.22% for Q4 2018), mid-caps to 1.68% (1.87% for Q4 2018), and small-caps to 1.53% (1.67% for Q4 2018).
- The yields across dividend-paying market-size classifications varied, with large-caps at 2.46% (2.72% for Q4 2018), mid-caps at 2.37% (2.58% for Q4 2018) and small-caps at 2.68% (2.95% for Q3 2018).