NEW YORK, April 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Standard & Poor's, the world's leading index provider, announced today that dividend increases rose 27.8% during the first quarter of 2011 to 510 from the 399 recorded during the first quarter of 2010. Of the approximately 7,000 publicly owned companies that report dividend information to Standard & Poor's, only 30 decreased their dividend payment during the first quarter of 2011 versus the 48 that lowered their dividend payment during the first quarter of 2010.

"If dividends were a paycheck, dividend investors would have received a 6.7% raise in the first quarter," says Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst at S&P Indices. "Dividend increases were up 27.8% in the first quarter, with dividend decreases off 92% from the record setting first quarter of 2009. On a dollar basis, dividend investors lost $43.8 billion in the first quarter of 2009; for the first quarter of 2011 they added back $19 billion."

Silverblatt notes that yields for paying issues decreased slightly to 2.39% at the end of the first quarter, compared to 2.41% at the close of 2010. However, more issuers were paying dividends, with 39.3% of the issues paying a regular cash dividend, compared to 37.9% at year-end 2010.

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