Dividends By The Numbers In June 2020 And 2020-Q2

The Coronavirus Recession is having a devastating impact on many dividend-paying firms in the U.S. stock market, producing what may be the worst quarter for dividend-focused investors in the modern era of stock market history.

That's enough sugar coating. Let's recap the U.S. stock market's dividend metadata for June 2020:

  • A total of 4,017 U.S. firms declared dividends in June 2020, an increase of 899 over the 3,118 recorded in May 2020. That figure is also an increase of 56 over the number recorded a year ago in June 2019.
  • 13 U.S. firms announced they would pay a special (or extra) dividend to their shareholders in June 2020, a decrease of 9 from the number recorded in May 2020 and 16 lower than what was recorded a year earlier in June 2019.
  • 74 U.S. firms announced they would boost cash dividend payments to shareholders in June 2020, an increase of 9 over the number recorded in May 2020, and an increase of 4 over the total recorded in June 2019.
  • A total of 71 publicly traded companies cut their dividends in June 2020, a decline of 43 from the 114 recorded in May 2020, but an increase of 57 over the 14 recorded in June 2019.
  • 27 U.S. firms omitted paying their dividends in June 2020, a decrease of 125 from the number recorded in May 2020. That figure represents an increase of 26 over the total recorded in June 2019.

Let's see next how June 2020's dividend counts for number of increases and decreases compares to the previous months for which we have data, which extends back to January 2004, where for the first time in the last three months, the number of dividend rises is greater than the number of dividend reductions.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Number of Public U.S. Firms Increasing or Decreasing Their Dividends Each Month, January 2004 - June 2020

Following up an observation from three months ago, in our last quarter-ending edition of the Dividends by the Numbers series, we indicated "that we're on the cusp of what the NBER will almost certainly declare to be a national recession because of the coronavirus pandemic, where we think they will set February 2020 as its Month 0 (the month in which the previous period of economic expansion peaked)". The NBER did exactly that on 8 June 2020.

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