NEW YORK, Jan. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- S&P Dow Jones Indices today announced that the indicated dividend net increases (increases less decreases) for U.S. domestic common stocks increased $4.5 billion during Q4 2017, down from $15.0 billion for Q3 2017 and $8.9 billion for Q4 2016.
General Electric's (GE) $4.2 billion reduction from November 2017 affected the quarter's overall dividend activity. Q3 2017 saw large-cap financial institutions increase payments after regulatory approval, which accounted for more than 45% of Q3 2017's increase.
For Q4 2017, aggregate increases amounted to $12.4 billion, up from $11.3 billion for Q4 2016. Dividend decreases surged to $7.9 billion, up from $2.3 billion for Q4 2016.
For full-year 2017, net dividend increases rose 56.9% to $37.1 billion, compared to a $23.6 billion increase for full-year 2016. Total dividend increases were $49.6 billion, up from $43.9 billion; dividend decreases were $12.5 billion, down from $20.2 billion for full-year 2016.
"Q4 2017 dividend payments for the S&P 500 were a record $109.5 billion," said Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst, S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Full-year 2017 saw a record $419.8 billion returned to shareholders via regular cash payments, climbing up from $397.2 billion for 2016. It was the eighth consecutive year of higher payments and the sixth consecutive year of record payments."
Additional findings from S&P Dow Jones Indices' quarterly analysis of the dividend activity of U.S. traded issues include:
Dividend Increases (defined as an increase in dividend payments):
- 801 dividend increases were reported for Q4 2017, compared to 784 increases for Q4 2016, a 2.2% year-over-year increase.
- For 2017, 2,642 issues increased their payments, compared to 2,634 issues for 2016, a 0.3% year-over-year increase.
Dividend Decreases (defined as either a decrease or suspension in dividend payments):
- 114 issues decreased dividends during Q4 2017, compared to 134 during Q4 2016, a 14.9% year-over-year decrease.
- For 2017, 445 issues decreased their dividend payments, compared to 659 decreases during 2016, a 32.5% decrease.
Non-S&P 500® domestic common issues paying a dividend:
- The percentage of non-S&P 500 domestic common issues paying a dividend declined to 55.2%, down from 55.3% for Q3 2017 and up from 54.7% for Q4 2016.
- The weighted dividend yield for paying issues was 2.36%, down from 2.48% for Q3 2017 and 2.59% for Q4 2016.
Large-, Mid-, and Small-Cap Dividends:
417 issues, or 82.6%, within the S&P 500® currently pay a dividend, unchanged from Q3 2017. All 30 members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average® pay a dividend.
Silverblatt found that 70.0% of S&P MidCap 400® issues pay a cash dividend, up from 69.3% for Q3 2017; 51.1% of S&P SmallCap 600® issues pay a dividend, down from 51.6% for Q3 2017.
Yields continued to vary, with large-caps at 1.87% (1.97% for Q3 2017), mid-caps at 1.49% (1.54% for Q3 2017) and small-caps at 1.23% (flat from Q3 2017).
The yields across dividend-paying market-size classifications remain competitive, with large-caps at 2.24% (2.37% for Q3 2017), mid-caps at 2.06% (2.15% for Q3 2017) and small-caps at 2.25% (2.12% for Q2 2017).
Silverblatt calculated that within the S&P 500, the average dividend increase during Q4 2017 was 10.4%, down from 14.4% during Q3 2017 and 11.7% during Q4 2016. The median increase was 8.2%, down from 9.8% during Q3 2017 and 9.1% during Q4 2016.
For all of 2017, Silverblatt notes that the median increase rose to 8.7%, up from 8.2% for 2016; the rise breaks a five-year trend of declining increases.
"Using the current declared dividend rates for the S&P 500, 2018 has a 2.3% increase of dividend payments before any announced increases," said Silverblatt. "328 issues increased their dividends 356 times for 2017 and conditions are favorable for 2018 to be a record year for dividends."
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