The S&P 500's dividend stocks provided shareholders with an average payout boost of more than 8% in 2019. However, a number of outstanding companies announced far more substantial dividend increases - 20%, 30% or more. In a few cases, companies more than doubled their payouts overnight.
Companies often authorize significant upgrades in their regular dividends to attract new investors or stand out from industry competitors. While one-time influxes of cash will often go toward buybacks or one-time special dividends, firms that believe they can maintain heightened levels of profitability will return some of that money through larger regular payouts.
You'll notice that many of the past year's largest dividend increases came from the banking industry. That's in part because some large banks that were sitting on stockpiles of cash received permission from government regulators to distribute their excess capital to investors. Another major impetus for dividend growth was tax reform, which bumped up after-tax profits for many American companies, including banks.
Here, we look at 30 companies that stood out over the past year because of their outsize dividend increases. Each dividend growth stock listed here improved its regular payout by at least 20% in 2019, though in numerous cases, the dividend improved by considerably more. Let's take a look.SEE ALSO: The Pros' Picks: 13 Top Dividend Stocks for 2020