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Dividends By The Numbers For March 2018

Apr. 04, 2018 5:42 AM ET1 Comment

March 2018 saw the second-largest ever number of dividend cuts be declared by U.S. firms and funds in a single month. The month's 92 dividend cuts reported was just one shy of the record 93 cuts that were recorded during the Great Dividend Raid of 2012, when the very real threat of greatly higher taxes on dividends taking effect in 2013 prompted U.S. firms to drain money from the accounts they had set up to pay dividends in 2013 to instead pay out before the end of 2012 to avoid a major income tax hit.

At least assuming that Standard & Poor's currently reported dividend data for March 2018 holds and isn't revised, which is something that we've seen before. Until we can confirm that number, however, we're looking to our near-real time samples of dividend cut data to get more insight into what's going on with the dividend cut numbers for March 2018, which we'll follow up in the very near future.

Until then, here's the overall view showing the total number of announced dividend increases and decreases for each month from January 2004 through March 2018.

And because it is especially relevant, here's our chart that zooms in on just the number of dividend cuts reported over the same period of time, where we've tentatively included March 2018's spike in dividend cuts in with the 2017-2018 "tax cut and rate hike spike".

Here are the dividend numbers as we know them for March 2018 today:

  • There were 4,392 U.S. firms that issued some kind of declaration regarding their dividends in March 2018, which is up significantly from February 2018's 3,493 and the year-ago March 2017's 4,041. This figure is also the third-highest number on record, coming behind December 2017's 4,506 and December 2015's 4,422.
  • In March 2018, there were

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Ironman is the alias of the blogger at Political Calculations, a site that develops, applies and presents both established and cutting edge theory to the topics of investing, business and economics. We should acknowledge that Ironman is either formerly or currently, and quite possibly, simultaneously employed as some kind of engineer, researcher, analyst, rocket scientist, editor and perhaps as a teacher of some kind or another. The scary thing is that's not even close to being a full list of Ironman's professions and we should potentially acknowledge that Ironman may or may not be one person. We'll leave it to our readers to sort out which Ironman might behind any of the posts that do appear here or comments that appear elsewhere on the web!

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