Standard & Poors calculates that the forward 12-month dividend rate for the S&P 500 is $13.9 billion higher than it was at the end of 2002. Factoring in the dividend tax cut, this will bring investors $46.7 billion more in profits each year, according to S&P.
"Despite what is usually a typically quiet period for dividends announcements, this July has seen the heaviest number of dividends increases and initiations in recent memory," said Howard Silverblatt, equity market analyst, Standard & Poors. "This compares to 34 increases in February and 30 in January, historically the largest dividend months."
So far this year, there have been 171 dividend increases and initiations, compared to 113 in 2002. Even firms in sectors that have not traditionally paid dividends, such as technology, are now beginning to offer them.