Corporate America’s dividend payouts are on the rise, but dividend related exchange traded funds are actually seeing yields diminish as the equities market rallies to new heights.

According to S&P Dow Jones Indices, the amount of dividend payments increased $14.5 billion during the first quarter of 2013, with a reported 944 dividend increases, a 39.4% increase year-over-year. [Investors Play Defense with Dividend ETFs]

“Dividends continued to increase in the first quarter with actual cash payments increasing 12% and the forward indicated dividend rate reaching a new all-time high,” Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in the press release.

Analysts also expect dividend payouts to increase further.

“Payout rates, which historically average 52%, continue to remain near their lows at 36%,” Silverblatt added. “At this point, 2013 will easily surpass the 2012 record dividend payment, which speaks to the growth of dividends since 2012 payments included accelerated payments from 2013.”

However, the weighted dividend yield was 2.61% at the end of the first quarter, compared to 2.8% at the end of 2012.

“The lower yield is the result of the strong 10% equity increase in the first quarter,” Silverblatt explained.

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