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This has been a bigger-than-average year for special dividends. These one-time payouts have jumped a whopping 49% year to date through September (Q3), to 559 from 375, according to the latest available data from S&P Dow Jones Indexes.
Paid separately from a company's regular recurring (if any) dividend, special dividends are typically larger than normal dividend payouts. They are generally declared after an exceptionally robust quarter or strong year and/or when a company has a large cash reserve.
Indeed, the recent uptick in special dividends is due in part to the some $2 trillion in cash S&P 500 companies are collectively sitting on. Strong profits have also spurred an increase in extra payouts this year.
Last week brought half a dozen special dividend declarations. That's on top of some 30 announced over the last four weeks.
Following are the six special dividends announced during the week ending Dec. 12.
New Special Dividends: BKE, CME, and More
Buckle Inc. (NYSE: BKE) declared a special $2.77-per-share dividend payable Jan. 27 to shareholders of record Jan. 15. That's more than double the $1.20 the retailer of medium- to high-priced apparel, accessories, and footwear for young men and women shelled out in 2013. The 66-year-old, Nebraska-headquartered company, which operates 463 stores in 44 states, also hiked its quarterly dividend for the second consecutive year. The new quarterly payout increased a penny to $0.23 per share for a near 2% yield.
CME Group Inc. (Nasdaq: CME) announced a special $2-per-share dividend payable Jan. 13 to shareholders of record Dec. 29. The Chicago, Ill.-based options and futures exchange adopted an annual variable (extra) dividend structure in 2012. The move was implemented with the intention of determining how much excess cash was available to return to shareholders. This year's special dividend totals more than $673 million that will be rewarded to investors. Including this special dividend, CME will have paid more than $4 billion in quarterly and special dividends since 2012.