Slideshow: Dividends in the Spotlight

More companies are paying dividends; Apple, Dell initiate payments.

More S&P 500 Companies Paying Dividends

As of June 30, 400 of the S&P 500 companies pay dividends, the highest level since 1999. Ten S&P members have initiated dividends so far this year, and 22 did so in 2011.

 

 

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

 

 

Polishing the Apple

Tech giant Apple announced in March that it would begin paying a dividend for the first time since 1995. Its quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share means Apple will pay a total of $9.9 billion a year, the third highest total for an S&P 500 company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tech Taking Over?

In March, Dell also initiated a dividend, a quarterly payout of 8 cents a share. Howard Silverblatt of S&P Dow Jones Indices says technology companies are now the second biggest payer of dividends, after consumer staples. “If Google started paying at about the same rate as Apple, technology would be the biggest payer of dividends in the market.”

 

 

Going Against the Trend

Retailer J.C. Penney, which has seen sales drop as it tries to move away from discounting merchandise, announced in May that it will eliminate its quarterly dividend of 20 cents a share. And in March, Diamond Foods, facing an investigation into accounting irregularities, eliminated its dividend.

 

 

Biggest Payers

ExxonMobil, which boosted its dividend to 57 cents a quarter this year, pays out the most in dividends, at $10.7 billion. AT&T is in second place, paying out $10.4 billion.

 

 

Highest Yielders

As of Friday, July 20, Pitney-Bowes was the highest-yield S&P 500 company, with a dividend equal to 11.1% of its share price, followed by Frontier Communications at 10.7% and Windstream at 10.1%.

 

 

 

Long-time Payers

Bank of New York Mellon has paid a dividend every year since 1785. JP Morgan has the second longest record, having paid a dividend since 1827.

 

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