Dividends are hurting, reports Changing Times, the Kiplinger magazine. Last year was one of the worst in three decades, says Standard & Poor's. Increases were down and cuts were up as 1990 ended, a trend that should continue for a while. Dividends may drift up slightly later in the year, but 1991 isn't going to be bountiful.
The dividend picture is ugliest in the banking industry. In good times, healthy banks pass along about one-third of earnings to stockholders. Today, Chase Manhattan, Citicorp and others are slashing once-generous dividends as the government requires all banks to add to capital reserves.Some industrial companies may boost payouts as business rebounds later this year, believes S&P's chief economist David Blitzer. Healthy manufacturers with little debt, such as Colgate-Palmolive and B.F. Goodrich, are candidates. So are non-financial companies whose earnings always rise.