increased their dividend during the second quarter of 2008.
Additionally, dividend decreases were posted by 250 issues during the
second quarter of 2009, the highest number since the second quarter of
1957, over 50 years ago.
"It's not a good time for dividend investors," says Howard Silverblatt,
Senior Index Analyst at Standard & Poor's. "The current trend to conserve
cash and cut dividends has become defensive, with even relatively healthy
companies choosing to reduce payouts. Until we see the economy better, and
not just for one quarter, many companies will remain gun shy about parting
with their cash."
According to Silverblatt, dividend decreases have out numbered dividend
increases every year for as far back as Standard & Poor's dividend data
dates - 1955. "Dividend decreases are at a record high for both the
year-to-date and the 12-month period, with the number of increases also
setting a new record low. Since 1955, the average has been 15 increases for
every decrease. Now, it's five increases for every six decreases."
Silverblatt concludes by noting that many issues are still increasing
their dividend rate, but that finding them is getting harder with risk
levels higher than dividend investors are typically used to. "Standard &
Poor's Index Services believes that the next test for dividends will come
in August and September when companies start to review their 2010 budget
and expenses. If they don't feel comfortable about a stronger 2010, we
might be in for another round of cuts."
To download Standard & Poor's Dividend Record, please visit the
following web address: standardandpoors.com and click