Entries in S&P 500 (10)


Firms Paying Dividends Highest in Decade

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The number of S&P 500 companies that have paid dividends to their shareholders, 402, is the highest since 1999.

The number of dividend payers is the highest it’s been in the 21st century, which is good news for shareholders, since dividends, not stock prices, have brought investors the best returns in recent years, according to the Wall Street Journal’s CFO Report.

Dividend payments in cash are expected to hit a record $275 billion in 2012, up from $241 billion last year.

Because companies are loaded with cash and feeling pressure from investors to share it, firms are slowly starting to pay dividends, usually in small percentages like 1 or 1.5 percent.

This year, Apple announced its first dividend since 1995. The company will pay a quarterly cash dividend of $2.65 per share of its common stock, payable Aug. 16, less than one percent of its current trading price. Apple stock was trading at $620.14, up 0.48 percent in the mid-afternoon.

“People are disappointed in the way the stock market has performed in last 12 years,” said Josh Peters, editor of DividendInvestor, published by the investment firm Morningstar.  “It crashed and came back again but stocks haven’t really made forward progress.”

Peters said he expects the number of companies that pay dividends to grow over time, in part to meet investors’ expectations.

Historically, dividend payments have been a big portion of investors’ portfolios.   Of the S&P 500’s nominal total return from 1910 to 2010, dividend yield and dividend growth comprised 90 percent of growth for stock holders.

Some companies are known for paying consistent dividends, like General Mills, which paid $856 million for the year in dividends.

Peters said companies that focus on consistently paying dividends to shareholders often are more focused on long-term growth strategies.

“It’s a virtuous cycle,” Peters said. “When they pay a dividend, they attract a shareholder that stays for the long term, and the management runs the business for the long term and thinks about how to continue paying a dividend over time.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dow, S&P Have Best January in 15 Years

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Dow and the S&P 500 may have had an off-day on Tuesday, but they still both had their biggest January percentage gain since 1997.

The Dow was up 3.4 percent in January, while the S&P was up 4.4 percent.

Both indices, however, ended the day lower.  The Dow was down 20 points and the S&P was down less than a point.

This January was good in part because previous years have been so dismal.  The recent recession wiped out several years worth of value in stocks, so the markets are climbing out of that hole.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stocks Take Tumble as Supercommitee Stalls

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Stocks took a tumble on Monday following reports that the Congressional Joint Select Committee, or supercommittee, have failed to reach an agreement on spending cuts and tax increases to trim the deficit by the deadline of Nov. 23.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 290 points or over 2.4 percent to 11,511 around 12:05 p.m. ET and the Nasdaq was down 2.4 percent to 2,511.

In addition to the European debt crisis, investors are concerned that the failure to reach an agreement may lead to another credit downgrade for U.S. bonds and thus higher borrowing costs for the government.

Without a deficit reduction agreement, $1.2 trillion in "sequester caps," or automatic cuts, will be implemented. The cuts will affect a range of programs from Medicare and Medicaid to the Pentagon.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Stock Futures Point Up; Eyes on Apple after Steve Jobs' Death

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Despite worries about European debt and the shaky U.S. economy, stocks made strong gains for a second day in a row Wednesday and futures are pointed up ahead of Thursday’s opening bell.

The Dow closed up 131 points on Wednesday, the Nasdaq gained 56 and the S&P 500 added 20.

Asian stocks saw solid gains after days of losses. Hong Kong's leading stock index closed up 5.7 percent.

A day after the death of Apple visionary Steve Jobs, a big question mark looms over the future of the company he co-founded. Its shares dropped slightly in overnight trading. Jobs stepped down as the company’s chief executive in August, saying he could no longer perform the daily tasks required of him in the role.

Moderate growth for holiday sales is the forecast from the National Retail Federation; it expects totals to rise 2.8 percent this year, smaller growth than last year but much stonger than in 2008 or 2009.

Toyota says its global car and truck production is back up to pre-disaster levels, before Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

A high-speed passenger train service between Chicago and Detroit has taken a big step forward with Michigan’s purchase of a 135-mile stretch of track. The federal government is giving a major grant to the state.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Market Report: Stocks Spinning after Worst Quarter Since ’08 

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After closing out the worst quarter since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008, stocks continued to gyrate Monday on worries that Greece may default on its debt.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished the third quarter Friday with a 12 percent loss to 10,913 -- the broader S&P 500 did worse, declining 14 percent.  Investors sold shares on concerns that the economy may fall into another recession, European banks and government are on shaky financial ground and that the U.S. government won’t be able to tame its growing budget deficit.

After opening sharply down, stocks recovered somewhat on news that manufacturing in the U.S. ticked up in August. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index rose to 51.6 for the month, and construction spending edged up 1.4 percent, the Commerce Department reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 62 points to 10,851 at 11:08 a.m. ET. The S&P 500 fell 6 points or .5 percent; for the year, it’s down 5.74 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wall Street Report: Stocks Open Higher after Big Sell-Off

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks moved sharply higher Thursday after nearly a week of steep losses over debt fears here and in Europe.

At 1:25 p.m. Thursday, the Dow rose 352 points, or 3.2 percent, to 11,072.

Investors reacted positively to a bit of good news among the gloom: New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a four-month low last week, the government reported Thursday. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 395,000, the Labor Department said, the lowest level since the week ended April 2.

The markets here and abroad were also buoyed by an announcement that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet in Paris next Tuesday to discuss euro zone governance and other international issues.

Investor worries over French banks have weighed on the stocks over the past two days.

U.S. stocks skidded Wednesday on new worries about government debt in Europe, losing all of Tuesday's rally and then some. Gold, which surged to yet another new high Wednesday, fell back $25 to $1,758 an ounce Thursday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wall Street Report: Dow Down 400 Points at Midday

File photo. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)(NEW YORK) -- It’s another rough day on Wall Street. At mid-day trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 400 points, erasing almost all of Tuesday's gains. The Nasdaq was off 70 and the S&P 500 was down 37 points. The price of gold was up to $1786; oil was selling for more than $81 per barrel.

Carey Leahy at Decision Economics tells ABC News that even with the instability, he’s confident the U.S. economy can survive.

“We have deep capital markets. We have hard-working, flexible workers. We have great entrepreneurship,” Leahy said. “And without waving the American flag too much, firms are generating a heck of a lot of profits in a slow-growing economy.”

One analyst says investors are still trying to figure out if there will be a double-dip recession or just a slowdown.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Debt Ceiling Raised, But Markets Still Depressed

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After a multi-week fight in Congress over a potential default for the U.S. Treasury resolved with a last-minute increase in the nation’s debt ceiling, the stock market is turning to the dire economy the nation finds itself in.

Tuesday’s more than 2 percent drop in the Dow marks the eighth straight day of selling – the longest run of consecutive negative days since the worst part of the financial crisis (10/10/08). In that eight day period, the Dow has dropped by more than 850 points (-6.7%).

The broader S&P 500 has lost 6.8% (-90.97 points) during the past seven trading days (its consecutive string of negative days). With the close at 1254 for the S&P all the gains for the year have been erased.

Traders on Tuesday were focused on a morning report which showed American consumers were spending less during June – the biggest one month drop since 2009.

Much of the focus now turns to Friday’s jobs numbers: economists are betting that employers added 84,000 new jobs in July.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Stocks Close On Positive Note Friday; Gas Prices Continue to Rise

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Stocks called it a week on a higher note in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The Dow closed up 60 points, the NASDAQ earned 15, and the S&P 500 added 9.

The quake could mean a drop in the global demand for oil, the world's third-largest oil consumer is Japan.  It sent crude prices down sharply to just over $100 per barrel.

Gas prices in the U.S. continue to go up, though. President Obama says he would tap into the nation's strategic petroleum reserve if there was a need to do so.  The national average for gas is now over $3.54 per gallon.

We're shopping more.  Demand for new cars, clothing and electronic gadgets pushed retail sales 1 percent higher last month – part of the gain, due to higher gas prices.

You can't miss the lines at the Apple Store near you.  The new iPad 2 is now on sale. It's thinner and lighter, but most models are no more expensive than the old one.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sign of the Times: Standard & Poor's Adds Netflix to S&P 500

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The online movie rental and streaming service Netflix is being added to the S&P 500, Standard & Poor’s announced Friday, while The New York Times Company will be dropped to the S&P 400.

It’s just the latest example of how the digital age is proving unkind to the newspaper business. Print media is losing readers, advertisers and money as people turn to the Internet and rapidly advancing technology. Newspapers have struggled since the emergence of digital media and venerable publications like The New York Times are losing their dominance.

The change is set to take affect Dec. 17 after the close of trade.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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