Dividends By The Numbers In July 2020

After four months of the coronavirus recession, July 2020 saw significant improvements for dividend-paying firms in the U.S. stock market.

That improvement can be summarized in our chart visualizing the combined total of dividend cuts and suspensions from January 2004 through July 2020, where we find that figure has dropped below levels that have been consistent with what we've observed in previous periods associated with recessionary conditions being present in the U.S. economy.

Number of Public U.S. Firms Cutting or Suspending Their Dividends Each Month, January 2004 - July 2020

 

There are also signs that the coronavirus-related distress within the U.S. economy is continuing, which can be seen in our chart showing the number of U.S. firms either increasing or decreasing their dividends in each month from January 2004 through July 2020. That ongoing distress can be seen by the depressed number of firms announcing dividend increases, which for July 2020, are at levels that are consistent with what was observed during the so-called "Great Recession".

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

 

Let's run through the U.S stock market's dividend metadata for the month of July 2020:

  • 3,223 U.S. firms declared dividends in July 2020, a decrease of 794 from the 4,017 recorded in June 2020. That figure is also an increase of 100 over the number recorded a year ago in July 2019.
  • In another positive development, 25 U.S. firms announced they would pay a special (or extra) dividend to their shareholders in July 2020, an increase of 12 over the number recorded in June 2020 and the same as what was recorded a year ago in July 2019.
  • Seventy U.S. firms announced they would boost cash dividend payments to shareholders in July 2020, a decrease of 4 from the 74 recorded in June 2020, and a decrease of 69 from the 139 dividend rises declared back in July 2019.
  • Just 27 publicly traded companies cut their dividends in July 2020, a decline of 44 from the 71 recorded in June 2020, and also a decrease of 4 from the 31 recorded in July 2019.
  • Finally, eleven U.S. firms omitted paying their dividends in July 2020, a decrease of 16 from the number recorded in June 2020. That figure is also an increase of 9 over the total recorded in July 2019.
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