Senior earnings analyst John Butters of market research firm FactSet wrote a blog post describing how S&P 500 companies paid out a total of $US376 billion in dividends to their shareholders in the year between January 2013 and January 2014.
Butters included a chart showing that dividends per share (the blue line) have grown at an amazingly fast rate and are at a 20-year high:
Unsurprisingly, the two largest companies in the world, Exxon Mobil and Apple, are also the two biggest payers of dividends:
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