Dividends By The Numbers For April 2019

April 2019 was not a good month for investors looking for sources of dividend income, where the U.S. stock market saw both fewer increases and more decreases than what was recorded for the same month a year earlier.

The following chart shows the monthly increases and decreases for dividends reported by Standard and Poor for each month from January 2004 through April 2019.

Number of Public U.S. Firms Increasing or Decreasing Their Dividends Each Month, January 2004 through April 2019

 

Let's run through the metadata for U.S. dividend payers in April 2019:

  • 3,107 U.S. firms declared dividends in April 2019, a decrease of 1,207 from the number recorded one month earlier. That figure is also down by 281 from April 2018's total of 3,388.
  • Some 32 U.S. firms announced they would pay an extra, or special, dividend to their shareholders in April 2019, an increase of 1 over the number recorded in March 2019, and also a decrease of 2 from April 2018.
  • 157 U.S. firms announced they would increase their cash dividend payments to shareholders in April 2019, an increase of 6 over the number recorded in March 2019 but a decrease of 32 from the 189 dividend increases declared back in April 2018.
  • A total of 29 publicly traded companies cut their dividends in April 2019, a decline of 16 from the number recorded in March 2019, but 13 worse than the 16 cuts recorded in the same month a year ago.
  • Only 1 U.S. firm omitted paying their dividends in April 2019, a decrease of 1 from the number recorded in March 2019. Year over year, that figure is an improvement over the count of four firms that omitted paying dividends in April 2018.

The total number of dividend cuts has continued to hold above the level that suggests recessionary conditions are present within the U.S. economy, so we've extracted a sampling of dividend cuts announced in real time during April 2019 which industries are experiencing some degree of distress. In the first part of this listing, we've listed the firms that set their dividend payments independently of their earnings and cash flow, whose corporate boards had to specifically act to either cut or suspend cash dividend payments to shareholders during April 2019.

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