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Real Time Insight

A record number of US companies are rushing to pay special dividends ahead of a possible rise in taxes on dividends next year.

More than 170 companies have announced special dividends this year so far, compared to only 72 in the same period a year ago.  Further many companies have moved up the payment dates to December instead of the regular dates in January.

Not surprisingly, many of the companies making higher or accelerated payouts are the ones with high insider ownership. Some examples: Las Vegas Sands (53%), Wal-Mart (51%), Dillard’s (41%), Franklin Resources (35%).

Some such companies were sitting on huge cash piles but were cautious to invest in the current uncertain macro-environment.

The investors have welcomed such announcements, sending the shares up. More companies, particularly those with high insider ownership, pile of cash on the balance sheet and low debt, may be in-line.  

Do you think more companies will join the race to pay special dividends this year? Is it a good idea to identify potential candidates and buy their shares ahead of the announcements?

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