Dow Jones Indexes, a division Dow Jones, is adding more companies to an index of dividend-paying paying stocks tracked by Barclays Global Investors $4.3 billion iShares Dow Jones Select Fund, an exchange-traded fund, CBSMarketWatch reports.
As of Dec. 20, Dow Jones will double the current number of 50 stocks in its index. Officials at the index provider say the decision was predicated on a jump last year in the number of companies paying higher dividends to investors. Changes in Internal Revenue Service codes reducing tax rates on qualified dividends to 15% are seen as the main catalyst for the rising dividends. Experts also attribute a current interest in dividend-producing stocks to widespread fears of a forthcoming stock market slump.
Recent stock market performance figures also made a case for paying more attention to dividend-paying stocks. Between the beginning of the year and Nov. 8, dividend-paying stocks in the Standard & Poors 500 Index rose 12%, while non-dividend paying stocks only increased 2.6% percent during the same period.