Here’s the good news, dividend investors: Dividend payouts are on the rise, and the total dollar amount dished out by S&P 500 companies could reach a record high in 2012.
Here’s the bad news: Payout ratios — that is, the percentage of profits that are shared with shareholders via dividends — are actually at record lows.
In short, while publicly traded stocks are raking in more cash than ever, they actually are sharing less of that largess with their shareholders.
We all know the biggest offender. I’m talking about you, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). $30 billion in cash and $67 billion in short-term investments? Not a penny paid in dividends? And if you believe reports, a zero percent chance of a dividend being instated this year?
But it’s not just the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant dragging its feet. This is a problem in every corner of Wall Street. Payout ratios currently are sitting at around 27% — and historically, payout ratios average more than 50%. That’s not fair to investors, and it needs to change.
Here are seven cheapskate stocks that I think owe investors more in dividend payments: