Companies paid out $19 billion in dividends in the first quarter of 2011, Standard & Poor’s said. And the number of companies increasing dividends rose 27.8% to 510, up from 399 in the first quarter of 2010.

Of the 7,000 companies that report dividend information to S&P, only 30 decreased their dividend payment in the first quarter, down from the 48 that decreased dividends in the first quarter of 2010.

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