Apple Announcement Dividend Renaissance

March 23, 2012 by staff 

Apple Announcement Dividend Renaissance, The news keeps getting better for dividend investors. But can it last? The latest sign of a dividend renaissance is Apple’s decision to begin sharing some of its profits with shareholders for the first time in nearly two decades. The world’s most valuable company will start paying a dividend later this year, rather than continue to stockpile cash from iPhone and iPad sales.

That announcement came a week after major banks moved to restore their dividends, after cutting them during the financial crisis to conserve cash. At least nine top banks plan to raise their payouts or are considering doing so after the government conducted stress tests to ensure the banks can survive another crisis.

It adds up to better times ahead for dividend investors. Payouts by companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are expected to climb 15 percent from last year to $277 billion, according to S&P Indices. That amount would top the previous record of $248 billion, set in 2008. Three-quarters of the S&P 500′s dividend-paying companies are making higher payouts than they did last year.

Interest is so intense that hedge funds and many other Wall Street pros who normally avoid dividend stocks have been rushing into them lately, and Apple’s actions can only add to the frenzy, saysanlyst Howard Silverblatt of S&P Indices.

In fact, dividend stocks have been among the market’s strongest performers the past 12 months, a fact that hasn’t been lost on investors. Over that period, they have deposited a net $25 billion into mutual funds specializing in dividend stocks – usually labeled ‘equity income’ funds – according to industry consultant Strategic Insight.

That number wouldn’t normally be impressive, except that the cash came in as investors pulled out of nearly all other types of stock funds. A net total of $136 billion was withdrawn from all other stock fund categories, reflecting investors’ continuing fear of market volatility.

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