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Bright spots over the past year for income investors included North America, Japan and emerging markets
Thursday 21 Feb 2019 Author: Tom Sieber

Equities may be going through a choppy period but one big positive for investors is the growth in global dividends which hit a new record in 2018 and is set to grow further in 2019 according to asset manager Janus Henderson.

The Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index shows total dividends in 2018 up 9.3% to $1.37tn and up 8.5% on an underlying basis (stripping out the impact of currency movements and special dividends) which represents the best showing since 2015. The report shows nearly nine out of 10 companies raised or maintained their dividends worldwide.

Some of the best growth came from Japan where dividends were up 10.5% on an underlying basis to $79.1bn, building on improvements in preceding years. This reinforces the argument that Japanese companies are becoming more shareholder-friendly.

Janus Henderson’s head of global equity income Ben Lofthouse says dividend growth in 2019 is expected be more in line with the longer-run trend of between 5% and 7% at 5.1% but adds: ‘Dividends in any case are much less volatile than earnings, so we remain optimistic on the prospects  for income investors.’

2018 annual underlying growth rate

Emerging markets 15.9%

Japan 10.5%

UK 8.8%

North America 8.1%

Asia Pacific ex-Japan 8.0%

Europe ex-UK 5.4%

Source: Janus Henderson

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