Dividends, or With A Little Help From My Friends

Practically all of the dividend news is good – February is the busiest month for increases (fiscal over, annual going out, share holder meeting coming up). From the start of Dec,’09 there have been 52 increases and just 2 decreases, vs. a devastating 3-month Feb,’09 of 58 increases and 42 decreases, vs. 106 increases and 10 decreases for the 3-months ending Feb,’08 and 115 and 2 for Feb,’07. We expect the month to remain good, with several more Aristocrats increasing (see file). However, we also expect some bad news to start up soon. We still count 26 issues that didn’t make as much as they paid out last year and aren’t expected to cover their dividend this year – and that’s on estimated Operating earnings. Overall, the top payers are relatively healthy as far as coverage and earnings go (then again weren’t the Financials in ’06?), and more diverse than has been the pre-recession history.

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