I’ve become accustomed to delivering good dividend news to InvestorPlace readers each Friday with my report on companies increasing dividends in the prior week. Today, however, I’m delivering the flipside of the coin — namely, companies that have let shareholders down by decreasing and/or suspending their dividends.
Although the list isn’t long when compared to the number of blue chip companies boosting payouts so far this year, quite a few rather prominent firms have decidedly disappointed on the dividend front. Here are 17 companies decreasing and/or suspending dividends in the first half of 2012.
Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI) turned down its dividend furnace 72%, reducing its annual payout from 44 cents per share to 12 cents. The dividend yield, based on the May 1 closing price of $9.22 (the day the dividend cut was announced), is 1.30%.
Astoria Financial (NYSE:AF) reduced its annual dividend 69% from 52 cents per share to 16 cents. The dividend yield, based on the April 18 closing price of $9.11, is 1.76%.
Cedar Shopping Centers (NYSE: CDR) decreased the rent it pays shareholders by 44%, cutting its annual dividend payout from 36 cents per share to 20 cents. The REIT’s dividend yield, based on the Jan. 26 closing price of $5.19, is 3.85%.
Corporate Office Properties (NYSE:OFC) is another REIT that lowered its rent to shareholders. The company cut its annual dividend payment 33% from $1.65 per share to $1.10. The dividend yield, based on the Jan. 12 closing price of $22.98, is 4.79%.
Cross Timbers Royalty Trust Units (NYSE:CRT) chopped its annual dividend payout 14%, from $2.74 per share to $2.35. The new dividend yield, based on the May 21 closing price of $40.55, is 5.80%.
Dominion Resources Trust (NYSE:DOM) is a natural gas firm, and the metrics in the space caused the company to reduce its annual dividend by nearly 27% from 71 cents per share to 52 cents. The new dividend yield, based on the May 21 closing price of $8.68, is 5.99%.
Hugoton Royalty Trust (NSYE:HGT) is another natural gas firm that was forced to cut its payout. The company reduced its annual dividend payout nearly 15% from 74 cents per share to 63 cents. The new dividend yield, based on the May 21 closing price of $11.65, is 5.41%.
International Shipholding (NYSE:ISH) cut the fiscal cargo it delivers shareholders by 33%, taking its annual dividend payout down from $1.50 per share to $1. The new dividend yield, based on the April 26 closing price of $21.75, is 4.60%.
KB Home (NYSE:KBH) was a dividend darling during the housing boom, but this year it’s been forced to nearly foreclose on shareholders. The company slashed its annual dividend payout 60%, from 25 cents per share to 10 cents. The new dividend yield, based on the April 13 closing stock price of $8.05, is 1.24%.
Mesa Royalty Trust (NYSE:MTR) is another energy firm that turned down the heat on shareholders. The company cut its annual dividend payout nearly 35% from $2.07 per share to $1.35. The new dividend yield, based on the May 22 closing price of $30.50, is 4.43%.
NGP Capital Resources (NASDAQ:NGPC) reduced the capital it hands back to shareholders by 33%, cutting its annual dividend payout from 72 cents per share to 48 cents. The new dividend yield, based on the March 22 closing price of $6.69, is 7.17%.
Noble (NYSE:NE) is a big energy company that made a big adjustment to the power of its dividend. The company reduced its annual dividend 14.8%, from 61 cents per share to 52 cents. The new dividend yield, based on the Feb. 3 closing price of $36.9, is 1.41%.
Roma Financial (NASDAQ:ROMA) is a regional bank that operates in New Jersey, but shareholders in the Garden State bank had to sustain a 50% cut in their annual dividend from 32 cents per share to 16 cents. The new dividend yield, based on the June 22 closing price of $8.93, is 1.79%.
San Juan Basin Royalty Trust (NSYE:SJT) is yet another natural gas play gone south. The company cut its annual dividend payout to shareholders 16%, from 99 cents per share to 83 cents. The new dividend yield, based on May 21 closing price of $17.37, is 4.78%.
Value Line (NASD:VALU) is an investment data publisher, and this year it had to publish a 25% reduction in its annual dividend payout from 80 cents per share to 60 cents. The new dividend yield, based on Jan. 19 closing price of $10.59, is 5.67%.
In addition to the companies decreasing dividends this year, two prominent companies suspended their dividend. On March 21, snack food maker Diamond Foods (NASDAQ:DMND) halted its payout. Later, the company failed to meet a deadline to restate its financial results after an investigation uncovered improper accounting practices. Diamond now faces the possibility of a delisting from the Nasdaq.
On May 15, discount retailer J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) also suspended its dividend. The company’s rebranding effort, along with a new management team, has had a rough go of things this year, and the suspension of its dividend represents a big black mark on its fiscal fitness.
At the time of publication, Jim Woods held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.