Political  Calculations

The number of publicly-traded U.S. companies announcing that they would be acting to cut their dividend payments remained in recessionary territory December 2013.

Number of U.S. Publicly-Traded Companies Announcing Decreasing Dividends, January 2004 through December 2013

As in November 2013, it appears the economic distress is once again concentrated in the real estate sector of the U.S. economy, with Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) bearing the brunt of the negative actions. Amanda Alix of the Motley Fool describes the sentiment for investors in that industry:

Massive Dividend Cut Sparks Panic Among Mortgage REITs

Just when it looked like mortgage REITs were moderating, disaster struck. Anworth Mortgage (NYSE: ANH) announced a reduction in its quarterly dividend last Friday, and it was a doozy: a mere $0.08 per share, a 33% drop from the previous payout of $0.12.

Reaction was swift, and Monday saw decimation in the sector. Anworth fell by more than 0.70%, while agency peers Annaly Capital (NYSE: NLY) dropped 1.21%, Armour Residential (NYSE: ARR) lost 1.34%, and American Capital Agency (NASDAQ: AGNC) took the biggest hit, suffering a decrease of 2.70%.

Political Calculations

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