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Record $36bn in dividends could help ASX share market recovery

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A wall of cash from dividend payouts is expected to give ASX share market bulls extra firepower to buy the dips.

That’s the prediction of some market experts like Bell Potter strategist Richard Coppleson. He calculates that investors will reap more than $36 billion in dividends by April this year, according to reporting in the Australian Financial Review.

The collective value of dividends declared in the February reporting season was 40% higher than the same time last year.

“The dividends to be paid in March and April will be positive for retail sales and also the market, as some of this cash will be reinvested back into stocks in late March through to mid-April,” Coppleson told the AFR.

“If we see the US market re-test its January lows, which is still a big chance, many institutional investors will have cash flying in from mid- to late-March that they will be able to throw at the market.”

This month should see $26 billion in dividends hit shareholders’ bank accounts. There is a further $10.3 billion that will flow into shareholders’ pockets in April.

Cash to calm the volatility

If much of the cash is put back into the market, as Coppleson is predicting, it could help stabilise the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) during this volatile period.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine, rising interest rates, and fears of stagflation have sent ASX shares on a rollercoaster ride.

Most of the dividend support is coming from resources shares thanks to strong commodity prices.

Top dividend-paying ASX shares

BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) is the reigning dividend champ with a record interim payout of US$1.50 (A$2.08) a share. BHP alone accounts for nearly 29% of the total value of dividend payments in the latest reporting season.

The next best dividend-payer, and the only non-resource ASX share in the top 5 dividend payers, is Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA). Australia’s largest bank declared a $1.75 per share interim dividend. This totals $3 billion in dividends.

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) is in third spot despite cutting its interim dividend by 41%. Fortescue is paying out $2.6 billion. Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) is in fourth position with its $2.5 billion cash splash.

Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) rounds up the top five, forking out $1.4 billion in dividends.

Given the positive earnings outlook coming out of the February reporting season, plus the ongoing surge in commodity prices, the ASX dividend party may last a while longer yet.

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