Dividends By The Numbers For September 2020 And 2020-Q3

  • In 2020-Q3, publicly-traded U.S. firms issued 10,049 declarations about their dividend policies. That total was 228 fewer than the 10,277 declarations issued in 2020-Q2.
  • 62 firms announced they would pay an extra, or special, dividend to their shareholders during 2020-Q3. By comparison, just 46 firms found enough cash to make it worthwhile enough to make an extra dividend payment to their shareholding investors in 2020-Q2.
  • A total of 212 companies announced they would increase their dividends during 2020-Q3, up 20 from the 192 that did in the preceding quarter of 2020-Q2.
  • 35 firms announced they would resume paying dividends after having previously suspended them, an increase of 27 over the total of 8 that did during 2020-Q2.
  • S&P recorded some 62 firms announcing dividend cuts in 2020-Q3. That number was down by 243 from the 305 firms that declared they would act to reduce their dividends in 2020-Q2.
  • Meanwhile, 40 firms announced they would suspend, or omit, paying their dividends during 2020-Q3, which is 294 fewer than the 334 that put their dividends on hold in the preceding quarter.

With quarter-over-quarter improvements like these, it was no wonder that the pace of dividend cuts during 2020-Q3 fell well below the threshold signifying some degree of contraction in the U.S. economy. That's not to say that recessionary conditions were not present, but rather that the U.S. economy likely expanded during the third quarter of 2020. That relative health may be seen in our chart showing the cumulative number of dividend cuts by day of the quarter for 2020-Q3, which we've compared with the third quarters of 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Cumulative Dividend Cuts and Supsensions in U.S. by Day of Quarter, 2017-Q3 vs 2018-Q3 vs 2019-Q3 vs 2020-Q3, Snapshot on 2020-09-30

2020-Q3 saw more dividend cuts than each of the other historical quarters shown in the chart, but mainly in the first half. After the first half, the pace of dividend cuts slowed considerably, which corresponds with the U.S. economy gaining traction during the second half of the quarter.

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