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40 S&P 500 Companies Raised Dividends During the Covid-19 Crisis

Note: Table below best viewed on desktop PC

If you’ve watched CNBC lately all you see is doom and gloom. If it bleeds it leads, so naturally media has a bias to publish scary stories. And there have been plenty over the past couple months.

Many of these recent stories included high profile dividend cuts at companies with big brand names: American Airlines, Expedia, Southwest Airlines, Walt Disney Company, Estee Lauder, General Motors, Hilton Worldwide, Boeing, Ford, Macy’s, Gap, Nordstrom…just to name several.

This is enough to make a dividend investor want to wait it out on the sidelines.

Despite the negative news about dividend cuts, the number of positive (increases) and negative (suspensions and decreases) dividend actions is surprisingly balanced.

The negative actions make sense and there are undoubtedly more cuts to come. But the increases?

Put yourself into a corporate executive’s shoes. The economic shit-storm is no longer a surprise to any executive choosing whether or not to pay dividends. Many corporate executives now have enough information to determine whether their company can continue to pay – or even raise – dividends. So many companies are indeed in a position to raise dividends.

Consequently, since March 1st 40 companies in the S&P 500 have voluntarily chosen to INCREASE their dividends. Some by significant amounts.

For those relying on a dividend for retirement or investment income, a dividend suspension can be quite a shock. However, if you’ve been following my suggestions you are properly diversified and fairly insulated from the negative shock from a single holding or sector.

In fact, if you’ve been following my articles (Could Covid-19 Trigger a 2008-Style Financial Crisis – February 26, 2020) you might have avoided the crisis altogether.

But that’s in the past. Like the executives leading these corporations, what you need to do now is think about the future. Executives typically don’t raise dividends when the see a dark future for their company.

Which companies increased dividends? Below I’ve listed them in order of % dividend increase. The average increase was 7.44%, ranging from 0.36% to 78.57%. Personally, I think any company raising dividends by 5% or more in this environment has to be pretty confident about the future.

Note that one company initiated dividends in May (Otis Worldwide Corp).

Company NameTimingTickerNew RateOld RateChange %SECTOR
Otis Worldwide CorporationMAYOTIS$0.80$0.00n/aIndustrials
Newmont CorporationAPRNEM$1.00$0.5678.57%Materials
Dollar General CorporationMARDG$1.44$1.2812.50%Consumer Discretionary
Progressive CorporationMARPGR$2.81$2.5111.95%Financials
Ross Stores, Inc.MARROST$1.14$1.0211.76%Consumer Discretionary
Baxter International Inc.MAYBAX$0.98$0.8811.36%Health Care
American Water Works Company,APRAWK2.202.0010.00%Utilities
Globe Life Inc.MARGL$0.75$0.698.70%Financials
General Dynamics CorporationMARGD$4.40$4.087.84%Industrials
Costco Wholesale CorporationAPRCOST$2.80$2.607.69%Consumer Staples
American Tower CorporationMARAMT$4.35$4.047.67%Real Estate
CME Group Inc. Class AMARCME$5.90$5.507.27%Financials
Ameriprise Financial, Inc.MAYAMP$4.16$3.887.22%Financials
PepsiCo, Inc.MAYPEP$4.09$3.827.07%Consumer Staples
Apple Inc.APRAAPL$3.28$3.086.49%Information Technology
Johnson & JohnsonAPRJNJ$4.04$3.806.32%Health Care
Equity ResidentialMAREQR$2.41$2.276.17%Real Estate
Procter & Gamble CompanyAPRPG$3.16$2.986.04%Consumer Staples
First Republic BankAPRFRC$0.80$0.765.26%Financials
Kohl’s CorporationMARKSS$2.82$2.685.22%Consumer Discretionary
UDR, Inc.MARUDR$1.44$1.375.11%Real Estate
Kinder Morgan Inc Class PAPRKMI$1.05$1.005.00%Energy
Citizens Financial Group, Inc.APRCFG$1.50$1.434.90%Financials
QUALCOMM IncorporatedAPRQCOM$2.60$2.484.84%Information Technology
Applied Materials, Inc.MARAMAT$0.88$0.844.76%Information Technology
MetLife, Inc.APRMET1.841.764.55%Financials
TE Connectivity Ltd.MAYTEL$1.92$1.844.35%Information Technology
Nasdaq, Inc.APRNDAQ$1.96$1.884.26%Financials
Expeditors International of WaMAYEXPD$1.04$1.004.00%Industrials
Travelers Companies, Inc.APRTRV$3.40$3.283.66%Financials
Cboe Global Markets IncMAYCBOE$1.44$1.393.60%Financials
Southern CompanyAPRSO$2.56$2.483.23%Utilities
Xilinx, Inc.APRXLNX$1.52$1.482.70%Information Technology
Colgate-Palmolive CompanyMARCL$1.76$1.722.33%Consumer Staples
American Tower CorporationAPRAMT$4.45$4.352.30%Real Estate
Norfolk Southern CorporationAPRNSC3.763.682.17%Industrials
People’s United Financial, IncAPRPBCT$0.72$0.711.41%Financials
Cardinal Health, Inc.MAYCAH$1.94$1.921.04%Health Care
International Business MachineAPRIBM$6.52$6.480.62%Information Technology
Realty Income CorporationMARO$2.80$2.790.36%Real Estate

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