The total amount of dividends paid out by companies continues to grow, but that masks a trend that might be a litle disqueting to investors. Companies are increasingly cutting the size of their dividends they're giving out to shareholders.
According to S&P Dow Jones indices, 85 companies reduced their dividend payouts in the second quarter of this year. That compares to 57 in the second quarter a year ago. This year was the biggest second quarter for falling dividends since the recession year of 2009, when nearly 250 companies cut their payouts.
The biggest reason for all the cuts is the decline of the energy sector, which is still reeling from the falling price of oil. Nearly half of the stocks cutting their dividends last quarter were energy companies.