Dividends By The Numbers In February 2021

February is typically a strong month for dividend paying stocks in the U.S. stock market. That's because it is a very popular month for firms to announce they will increase their dividends based on the strength of their fourth quarter earnings.

So it's no surprise that February 2021 was a relatively strong month! As Februaries go however, February 2021 saw the lowest number of dividend rises announced in any February of the past eight years. The latest update to our chart illustrating the number of dividend rises and reductions in each month since January 2004 shows how February 2021 ranks for both metrics.

(Click on image to enlarge)

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

Let's get to February 2021's dividend metadata. Before we proceed however, we need to note that Standard and Poor did indeed revise their tally of the number of extra (or special) dividend payouts announced during January 2021, which turned out to be a considerably larger number than the zero they originally reported! The revised figure is the number we'll be referencing for January 2021's extra dividends below:

  • A total of 2,439 U.S. firms declared dividends in February 2021, an increase of 973 over the unchanged number of 1,466 recorded in January 2021. That figure is also a decrease of 1,243 from the 3,682 recorded in February 2020.
  • 64 U.S. firms announced they would pay a special (or extra) dividend to their shareholders in February 2021, a decline of 49 from the 113 recorded in January 2021 and an increase of 17 over the 47 recorded in February 2020.
  • 286 U.S. firms announced they would boost cash dividend payments to shareholders in February 2021, an increase of 112 over the number recorded in January 2021, and a decrease of 11 from the 297 recorded in February 2020.
  • A total of 14 publicly traded companies cut their dividends in February 2021, a decline of 18 from the 32 recorded in January 2021 and also a decrease of 15 from the 29 recorded in February 2020.
  • 1 U.S. firm omitted paying their dividends in February 2021, a decline of 2 from the 3 recorded in January 2021. That figure is also a decrease of 3 from the 4 recorded in February 2020.
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