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Dividend Watch: New Data Show S&P 500 Dividend Payments Still Rising

May 06, 2020 3:33 AM ETUPS, KO, IBM, SBUX, CAT, XOM, CVX10 Comments


  • The percentage of S&P 500 companies paying dividends continues to be much better than was predicted two months ago.
  • Dividend increases are running almost 3 times that of dividend cuts.
  • Many companies are specifically committing themselves to honoring their dividends.

The news on dividend payments by S&P 500 companies continues to be better than many experts predicted in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. The table below shows the dividend actions of companies that either made a dividend announcement from March 1 through today, or paid a dividend during this time.

Dividend Actions by S&P 500 Companies
March-May 4, 2020

Dividend Paid

Dividend Increased

Dividend Decreased




We are approaching the end of the initial round of dividend actions by S&P 500 companies since the onset of the virus, and so far the news is good for the overall stock market and income investors. We are awaiting only nine companies that pay irregular dividends, usually annual or semi-annual payers, and 16 companies that did not make dividend payments or declarations in March or April. We should be able to log the remaining companies over the next six weeks. Remember, seventy-nine companies do not pay a dividend.

Even though the number of companies cutting dividends is the most in many years, we are not even close to the number of cuts in the 2008-2009 Great Recession. This has surprised many observers because the economic impact of the massive country-wide shutdown is having a more negative effect on the overall U.S. economy than did the Great Recession. Of even more interest, many companies are taking the unusual step of promising their shareholders that they are committed to paying their dividends and will cut them only as a last resort. The following are statements from some of the largest companies making these types of public statements:

United Parcel (UPS): "Our dividend remains a high priority and is a hallmark of our financial strength. We are confident our actions will continue to enable us to fund

This article was written by

Greg Donaldson is Chairman of the Board of Donaldson Capital Management, an Indiana based firm with assets under management of $1.4 billion. He has been in the securities business since 1975 and has founded or co-founded three investment management firms. He is a member of the board of directors of Donaldson Family, LLC, and Donaldson Research Partners, LLC. He is also a trustee of the Pumphrey Foundation. Greg graduated from Purdue University with a BS is Economics in 1970. Greg is married with two children and resides with his family in McCutchanville, a suburb north of Evansville, Indiana.

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Comments (10)

I would like to find a source for to track dividends for all SP500 members. For example, payable date, annual increase, etc.....can you be a resource.
Rising Dividend Investing profile picture
My sources are all a part of subscription services like Bloomberg, etc. Let me do a bit of digging and see what I can find.
What is easiest source for sp500 dividend increases.
Rising Dividend Investing profile picture
Good stuff everyone. You see the reality of the situation. Quality companies are still hiking dividends. Financial media has been full of gloom and doom on dividend payments. Hats to you all.
FinancialDave profile picture
The very good will almost always be able to raise their dividend, but the backstory to dividends are all rosy is this article that came from a Sure Dividend email which tracks not just S&P dividends:


The total of suspensions and cuts (now 219) is climbing much faster than the raises, at least it seems that way.
Rising Dividend Investing profile picture
FinDave, Sure Dividend's article encompasses 3100 companies. The reason I only track the S&P 500 is because almost all of these firms have access to the capital markets, so if they are comfortable they can borrow to pay dividends. I've seen it done in many recessions. Among the 3100 trading stocks in the US, few have any access to the capital markets and thus, they have no choice but to cut dividends, advertising, etc. Thanks for linking the Sure Dividend article. I have been trying to find it for a couple of days.
sts66 profile picture
Good link to div cutters - wow, it's ugly! I'm surprised XOM didn't join OXY, or at least cut it - they are spending way more than they're earning in 2020, something like $35B vs. $20B.
unclephool profile picture
I have tried to pick carefully companies that maintain or raise dividends in challenging market conditions. I have no eliminations, cuts, suspensions in my 38 company portfolio. My dividend income so far this year has already grown more than in all of 2019. I like that.
Stick with quality blue chips and dividend kings/aristocrats.
Buyandhold 2012 profile picture
"...dividend payments still rising."

Not a surprise to me.

My dividend income has gone up every year for 50 years.

I can always rely on my dividends.
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