Dividends By The Numbers For September 2018 And 2018-Q3

September is typically the worst month of the year for tracking positive changes for dividends in the U.S. stock market. While the month of June can provide it with real competition, in most years, September ranks the lowest for the number of announced dividend increases.

Having now set the stage for what you're about to see, the following chart illustrates the number of dividend increases and decreases that have been declared in each month from January 2004 through September 2018.

Number of Public U.S. Companies Increasing (Blue) or Decreasing (Red) Their Dividends, January 2004 through September 2018

Let's run through the dividend numbers for both September 2018 and 2018-Q3 to see how it compares to the previous month, the same month in the previous year, and the same quarter in the previous year....

  • 3,623 firms issued some kind of announcement about their dividend policies in September 2018, which is up month-over-month by 71 from the 3,552 that declared dividends in August 2018, and also up year-over-year by 90 from the 3,533 that declared dividends in September 2017. For 2018-Q3, there were a total of 10,428 dividend declarations, which was up 404 from 2017-Q3's total of 10,024.
  • September 2018 saw 24 U.S. firms announce that they would pay a special (or extra) dividend to their shareholders. This total is down by 7 from the 31 that paid special dividends in August 2018, but up by 7 from the 17 that were recorded in September 2017. While 2017-Q3 saw the announcement of 67 extra dividend payments, 2018-Q3 saw 77, an increase of 10 in the quarter-over-quarter measure.
  • Just 71 companies that announced they would increase their dividends in September 2018, which is down by 57 from the 128 that were recorded in August 2018, and also down by 3 from the 74 recorded in September 2017. Meanwhile, 2018-Q3 had 373 dividend increases, which is greater than the 367 dividend rises recorded back in 2017-Q3.
  • Standard and Poor noted a total of 26 dividend cut announcements in September 2018, up 11 from the 15 documented in August 2018, but down by 7 from the 33 recorded by S&P for September 2017. For 2018-Q3, the total number of dividend cuts was 64, which is 8 less than 2017-Q3's total of 72.
  • Finally, only 1 firm declared that they would omit paying dividends during the month, down by one from August 2018's total of 2, but up by one from September 2017's null entry. For 2018-Q3, the total number of firms omitting dividend payments was 3, where 2017-Q3 had seen 21 firms skip making dividend payments to their shareholders during the quarter.
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