February is a busy season, because there are many companies indicating that they would increase the level of dividend. Analysts pointed out that the U.S. companies’ dividend level would hit a new high in February this year. The companies intend to offer returns to shareholders by increasing the level of dividend bonus, showing that the economy has already ushered into the initial stage of economic recovery.
The dividend payout ratio of the constituent companies of the S&P 500 index hit a new high in June 2008, but fell sharply in August 2009. The Standard & Poor’s data showed the dividend level increased by 31.8% since then, but still lagged behind 2.5% compared to the 2008 level.
The dividend payout of S&P 500 companies totaled $241 billion in 2011 full year, while this figure was $247.9 billion in 2009. As the economic downturn, these companies paid dividends of $196 billion, mainly due to these companies wanted more cash in hands to prepare for contingencies in this unfavorable situation.
Data show that at the end of January this year, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index accumulatively rose 4.36%. While the historical records show that over the past 83 years, the chances that the market performance in January is consistent with the full year performance reached up to 72.3%, which should be a good signal for the performance of the market throughout the year.
In 2007, more than 31% of the total dividend of the S&P 500 Index constituent companies, came from the financial firms, but in 2011, this proportion fell to 11.8%, the consumer companies had become the largest contributors to the dividend payment, accounting for 15.5%. Moreover, the proportion the technology accounted for unexpectedly increased to 10.4%.