Dividends By The Numbers In December 2019

Dividend paying firms in the U.S. stock market closed out 2019 on a muted note, with the fourth quarter seeing both fewer dividend rises and fewer dividend cuts. Not uncoincidentally, the same can be said of 2019 as a whole. Washington Evening Star - 3 December 1936 - Page C-4

Here's our tally of dividend metadata for 2019-Q4, where we've compared the fourth quarter's figures to both the preceding quarter, 2019-Q3, and to the year-ago-quarter of 2018-Q4:

  • A total of 5,106 U.S. firms declared dividends in December 2019, an increase of 1,733 over the 3,373 recorded in November 2019. That figure is also 828 lower than what was recorded a year ago in December 2018.
  • 135 U.S. firms announced they would pay a special (or extra) dividend to their shareholders in December 2019, an increase of 58 over the number recorded in November 2019 and 44 lower than what was recorded a year ago in December 2018.
  • 126 U.S. firms announced they would boost cash dividend payments to shareholders in December 2019, a decrease of 24 from the 150 recorded in November 2019, and a decrease of 12 from the 138 dividend rises declared back in December 2018.
  • A total of 26 publicly traded companies cut their dividends in December 2019, an increase of 2 over the number recorded in November 2019 and also a decrease of 14 from the 40 recorded in December 2018.
  • 1 U.S. firm omitted paying their dividends in December 2019, a decrease of 3 from the number recorded in November 2019. That figure is also the same as the total recorded in December 2018.

And since we're covering the end of the year, here is how the number of dividend increases and decreases compares between this year and last.

  • There were 1,808 announced dividend rises during 2019, down from the 2,118 announced in 2018.
  • U.S. firms announced 309 dividend reductions in 2019, down from the 366 declared in 2018.
  • A total of 29 dividend declarations in 2019 involved firms omitting dividend payments to their shareholders, down from 37 such announcements in the previous year.
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