S&P Dow Jones Indices said fourth-quarter dividend net increases (increases and initial payments less decreases and suspensions) fell 5.6% from a year earlier to $12 billion (down from $12.7 billion in Q4 2013).
For the full year, dividend increases were down slightly (0.2%) to $54.8 billion.
On a sector basis, telecom issuers in the S&P 1500 index had the highest dividend yields at the end of Q4 (15 issuers yielding 5%), followed by utilities (60 issuers yielding 3.3%) and energy (100 issuers yielding 2.74%). However, S&P said more than half of dividend cuts in the fourth quarter came from energy firms as the price of oil plummeted.
Yields on the following S&P Dow Jones Indices at the end of Q4 were S&P 500 (2%); S&P Midcap 400 (1.44%); S&P Smallcap 600 (1.26%); and S&P 1500 (1.93%).