Dividends By The Numbers For September 2020 And 2020-Q3

September 2020 continued the positive trend established in the two preceding months of July and August for dividend-paying firms in the U.S. stock market.

Here is the dividend metadata for the month of September 2020:

  • A total of 3,598 U.S. firms declared dividends in September 2020, an increase of 370 over the 3,228 recorded in August 2020, but a decrease of 422 with respect to the number of dividend declarations issued recorded in September 2019.
  • Eighteen U.S. firms announced they would pay a special (or extra) dividend to their shareholders in September 2020, a decrease of one from the number recorded in August 2020 and six lower than what was recorded a year ago in September 2019.
  • 61 U.S. firms announced they would boost cash dividend payments to shareholders in September 2020, a decrease of 20 from the 81 recorded in August 2020, and a decrease of six from the 67 dividend rises declared back in September 2019. As a general rule, September represents the month most likely to record the lowest number of dividend rises of any month in any given year.
  • A total of 12 publicly traded companies cut their dividends in September 2020, a decline of 11 from the 23 recorded in August 2020 and also a decrease of 17 from the 29 recorded in September 2019.
  • 18 U.S. firms omitted paying their dividends in September 2020, an increase of seven over the number recorded in August 2020. That figure is also an increase of 10 over the total recorded in September 2019.

The following chart adds September 2020's number of dividend increases and decreases to the ongoing series of data reported by Standard and Poor since January 2004. Please click here to access a large version of the chart.

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

Three solid months make for a solid quarter for the U.S. stock market's dividend payers. We put together the following quick sums to compare the dividend metadata for the good quarter of 2020-Q3 with the worst-ever quarter that immediately preceded it for comparison:

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