According to Standard & Poor's Monthly Dividend Action Report, total YTD dividend declarations have increased 4.7% versus 1.3% for the same 5-month period in 2006. On a 12-month YOY basis, declarations are up 2.4% versus 5.9% in the same 12-month period last year. As noted in the "increase" chart below, increases are actually down -3.2% versus up 6.4% YTD. Interestingly, "extras" are up 9.9% on a 12-month basis versus up 7.2% in the comparable period last year. Extras on a YTD basis are up only .6% versus up 16.4% in the same period last year. Although companies seem to be more focused on stock buybacks versus dividends, the dividend trend is still a positive one.
(click on charts for larger image)