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Special dividends – separate one-time payouts in addition to a company's regular (if any) dividend – are on the rise. Special dividend payment amounts jumped 49% from January through September 2014, according to the latest available data from S&P Dow Jones Indexes.
Special dividends are typically larger than normal dividend payouts. Companies usually declare them after an especially strong quarter or year, or when their cash reserve grows significantly.
Strong profits and large cash reserves have spurred these payouts. S&P 500 companies are collectively sitting on some $2 trillion in cash.
Here's the full list:
New Special Dividends: COST, SMRT, and More
Costco Wholesale Corp. (Nasdaq: COST) announced a special $5-per-share cash dividend payable Feb. 27 to shareholders of record Feb. 9. The payment of $2.2 billion will be funded through existing cash and additional borrowing. Costco is the second-largest retailer in the United States, third largest in the world, and largest membership warehouse club chain in America. The payout is its latest step in returning capital to shareholders. Costco paid a similar extra dividend in 2012. The company pays a regular quarterly dividend of $0.95 for a 5% yield. Shares are up 8.38% year to date.
Stein Mart Inc. (Nasdaq: SMRT) declared a special $5-per-share cash dividend payable Feb. 27 to shareholders of record Feb. 13. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based apparel retailer will pay the extra dividend with new credit facilities and cash on hand. Stein Mart, 268 stores strong, has consistently posted monthly increases in same-store sales. Sale rose 5.8% in December. Stein Mart pays a regular quarterly dividend of $0.08 for a yield just shy of 2%. Shares are up 6% year to date.