January 2019 was an average-to-below average month for dividend paying firms in the U.S. stock market. Whether we're counting the number of declarations, special dividend announcements, rises, reductions, or omissions, the month registered either close to or below the average levels recorded over the previous 15 years worth of January data that Standard and Poor makes available.
Let's run through the numbers for these categories and compare them to the previous month's figures and the same month from a year ago....
- In January 2019, 2,476 U.S. firms declared dividends, a decrease of 3,458 from the record number recorded in December 2018. That figure is also down by 258 from January 2018's total.
- 37 U.S. firms announced they would pay an extra, or special, dividend to their shareholders in January 2019, a decrease of 142 from the number recorded in December 2018, and also a a decrease of 14 from the total recorded a year earlier in January 2018.
- A total of 217 U.S. firms announced they would increase their dividend payments to shareholders in January 2019, an increase of 79 over the number recorded in December 2018, and a decrease of 101 from the 318 dividend rises declared back in January 2018.
- 27 publicly traded companies cut their dividends in January 2019, a decline of 13 from the number recorded in December 2018 and also a decrease of 9 from the 36 recorded in January 2018.
- Just 2 U.S. firms omitted paying their dividends in January 2019, an increase of 1 over the number recorded in December 2018. That figure is also an increase of 1 over the total recorded in January 2018.
The following chart shows just the increases and decreases that have been recorded by S&P for each month from January 2004 through January 2019.
We've already covered the dividend cutters for the month from our near real-time sampling, which captured 18 of the 27 reductions recorded during the month. If you want to see the list, which we've expanded since we published it on 29 January 2019, please follow this link.