Dividend funds, one of the fastest growing segments in the exchange traded fund (ETF) business, could get more attention on news the dividend payout by S&P 500 companies grew by a record $16.6 billion in the first quarter.
Since the start of the year, 117 companies in the S&P 500 either raised or initiated dividends, the Associated Press reported Friday.
Several large banks recently moved ahead with capital plans after passing the Federal Reserve’s second round of stress tests. J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo were among the lenders that announced dividend hikes, while Citigroup reinstated its dividend. Tech giant Cisco also said it would begin paying a dividend.
Dividend ETFs have been seeing inflows pick up in recent weeks while their prices are hitting highs, TheStreet.com reports.
The $6 billion iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index Fund (NYSEArca: DVY) ended the first quarter with a 5.5% gain, trailing the S&P 500 slightly, according to Morningstar. On Thursday, BlackRock launched iShares High Dividend Equity Fund (NYSEArca: HDV).