BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- U.S. companies raised dividend payouts by $9.6 billion in the third quarter to keep hungry shareholders happy and attract those earning almost nothing on bonds.That's chump change compared to dividend payouts of the past. And it comes at a time when the nation's companies are sitting on more cash than ever. Dividend payout rates have historically averaged 52% of earnings per share, but are now running near all-time lows at under 30%, according to S&P Indices. Companies have "considerable room to increase payments," S&P Indices says. But they won't.