BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Sure enough, earnings season is sending dividend hikes trickling in.
Companies have been boosting dividends en masse for the last few year, driving payouts higher as corporate earnings and holdings of cash grew to all-time highs. The result is the biggest cash dividend payout ever from S&P 500 stocks than ever right now and an average dividend yield that's higher than it's been any time in the last 20 years. So clearly, now's not a bad time to be an income investor.
But the downpour of dividend hikes is slowing a bit this quarter. Only a handful of firms opted to increase their dividend payouts last week, vs. nearly a hundred that opted to merely maintain it. That's a much bigger difference than investors have been used to lately -- but it doesn't mean that you can't find attractive dividend hikers in this market.
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