Fall Snapshot of the Future for S&P 500 Dividends

Three months ago, we took the first snapshot of the expected future for quarterly dividends per share for the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) through the end of 2022. Here's what that future looks like as of the close of trading on 11 November 2021:

Past and Projected Quarterly Dividends Per Share Futures for S&P 500, 2020-Q4 Through 2022-Q4, Snapshot on 11 November 2021

The past and projected data shown in this chart is from the CME Group's S&P 500 quarterly dividend index futures. The past data reflects the values reported by CME Group on the date the associated dividend futures contract expired, while the projected data reflects the values reported on 11 November 2021. This matches the timing of when we took our latest snapshot of the index' expected future earnings per share.

Since our last snapshot, the levels of the S&P 500's expected quarterly dividends per share has increased across the board for each quarter but 2022-Q2, which is unchanged at $15.54 per share. In the near term, cash dividend payouts expected during 2021-Q4 have risen from $14.87 to $15.36, while 2022-Q1's projected dividends have risen from $16.03 to $16.20. In the more distant future, dividends in 2022-Q3 rose from $15.17 to $15.51 per share, while 2021-Q4's dividends per share increased from $15.12 to $15.51.

About the Numbers

Dividend futures indicate the amount of dividends per share to be paid out over the period covered by each quarters dividend futures contracts, which start on the day after the preceding quarter's dividend futures contracts expire and end on the third Friday of the month ending the indicated quarter. So for example, as determined by dividend futures contracts, the "current" quarter of 2021-Q4 began on Saturday, 18 September 2021 and will end on Friday, 17 December 2021.

That makes these figures different from the quarterly dividends per share figures reported by Standard and Poor, who reports the amount of dividends per share paid out during regular calendar quarters after the end of each quarter. This term mismatch accounts for the differences in dividends reported by both sources, with the biggest differences between the two typically seen in the first and fourth quarters of each year.