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At a time when novice investors are discovering the difference between a regular investment in a profitable financial asset and speculating on an asset’s prices with no returns (stock market versus cryptos), the amount of dividends paid to shareholders has reached a new all-time high. Unsurprisingly, after a historic year in 2021, the amount of dividends paid to shareholders hit a new global record in the first quarter, thanks to the strength of the oil and mining sectors and the recovery after Covid-19. Payouts to investors rose 11% to $302.5 billion in the first three months of the year, a record for this “traditionally quieter” period, according to a report by asset manager Janus Henderson.
These numbers prompted Janus Henderson to revise his 2022 forecast upwards to $1,540 billion, “a 4.6% increase” from 2021, which was already a record year. Dividends had slowed down in 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 due to the pandemic. The report shows that “payouts have more than doubled” since 2009, when the study was made, which measures the evolution of the dividends paid by the 1,200 largest market caps. Despite a context of inflation and war in Ukraine, 94% of multinationals have increased or maintained their dividends, the survey describes. In the United States, this ratio was strongest at 99% compared to 90% a year earlier.
In Europe, Denmark’s dividends were much higher than usual due to a nearly eightfold increase in the annual dividend from shipping group Moller-Maersk “which is benefiting from the disruption of global supply chains”. Its first quarter dividend of $7.2 billion is the highest since 2015, and “will likely be one of the 30 largest dividends to be paid this year.”
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