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U.S. dividend increases hit record, and there’s more to come

The cold winter is being blamed for slowing economic activity and lower corporate earnings expectations – but it isn’t affecting dividends. Indeed, corporate payouts are surging and there is little evidence that cash-rich companies are anywhere close to being tapped out.

According to Standard & Poor’s, a record number of U.S. companies announced dividend increases between January and March: 1,078 boosted payouts out of a universe of about 10,000 U.S.-traded issues, beating the previous record of 1,069 in 1979. Just 102 companies decreased or suspended their dividends.