S&P 500: Dividends set a record $350.4 billion in 2014

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Howard Silverblatt (pictured), senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices comments on dividend payouts reaching a new record in 2014. 

The theme for Q4 and 2014 continues to be shareholder return, as dividends set a Q4 record of $92.8 billion and 2014 a record $350.4 billion (finals). Buybacks (62% of Q4 is reported) for Q4,’14 are running lower than Q3,’14, but excluding Apple (Q4,’14: $5B vs. Q3,’14 $17B) and Monsanto ($296M vs. $6.17B, a situation), they are flat.

For the year, buybacks are set to post their best year since the $589 billion 2007 record (meaning they will be #2 on the list).  Combined, dividends and buyback, will set a new record, with the current total estimated to be just shy of $900 billion at this point (so $900 is feasible); 2013 was $787 billion, with the record (for now) being 2007’s $846 billion.

Notables: Apple and Monsanto decreased for the quarter, which impacted the aggregates; for the year significant increases were posted by Apple ($45B vs. $25.9B), Intel ($10.8B vs. $2.1B), Boeing ($6B vs. $1.8B) and FedEx ($4.6B vs. $1.2B); decreases were posted for AT&T ($1.6B vs. $13.0B; although T did bulked up on cash in Q4), Halliburton ($0.8B vs. $4.4B), Oracle ($8.1B vs. $10.8B) and Cisco ($6.4B vs. $8.2B)

CapX, with only 49% reported (using the same issues), has a chance at setting a new quarterly record, which would make 2014 a 13% gain over 2013; but only half are in (another week should give a clearer picture, with 2 weeks the ability to make a statement).

Notables (with less than half in): health care is down 5%, but up 7% year-over-year, as industrials are 27% higher in Q4 over Q3, with 2014 up 8% for the year over 2013; Google, Royal Caribbean and Carnival increased significantly for Q4, as Google, Disney (although Disney was down for Q4) increased nicely for 2014 over 2013, with Caterpillar spending less for 2014.

Mona Dohle
Mona Dohle speaks German and Dutch, she is DACH & Benelux Correspondent for InvestmentEurope. Prior to that, she worked as a journalist in Egypt and Palestine. She started her career as a journalist working for a local German newspaper. Mona graduated with an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS and has completed the CISI Certificate in International Wealth and Investment Management.

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