Our real-time track record

97% of dividend cuts caught in advance

As straight shooters, we maintain a public track record of how our ratings have performed. Since our scoring system's inception in 2015, investors who stuck with companies that scored above 60 (our Safe threshold) would have avoided 97% (812 of 831) of dividend cuts that've occurred.

The scores below reflect our rating before the cut was announced, demonstrating the predictive value of Dividend Safety Scores™.

831 dividend cuts
since inception in 2015
31
Unsafe
Kronos (KRO) slashed its dividend by 74%. The producer of titanium dioxide, a whitening chemical used in everything from paints and plastics to toothpaste, wanted to prioritize strengthening its balance sheet while it grappled with a challenging pricing environment. Shares plunged nearly 20% on the news.
20
Very Unsafe
Granite Point Mortgage Trust (GPMT) cut its dividend for the second time in three months, announcing a 67% reduction. Steep credit losses resulting from the commercial mortgage REIT's high exposure to office loans has weighed on Granite Point's profitability and made it necessary to right-size the dividend.
40
Unsafe
Telephone and Data Systems (TDS) lowered its dividend by 79%. The majority owner of regional mobile network provider U.S. Cellular sold off its wireless operations and some of its spectrum, resulting in a smaller pool of ongoing profits and a need to rebase its dividend. This cash infusion was necessary to support TDS's weakening balance sheet and heavy investments in fiber, but it came at the cost of ending the firm's nearly 50-year dividend growth streak.
20
Very Unsafe
Cracker Barrel (CBRL) slashed its dividend by 81%. The roadside restaurant chain faced margin pressure from rising commodity and labor costs. Coupled with declining traffic from inflation-pinched diners, Cracker Barrel's new CEO desired to invest more in growth initiatives to turn the business around. Shares fell more than 10% on the news.
40
Unsafe
Compass Minerals (CMP) suspended its dividend. The road salt miner and plant nutrition company faced a slew of challenges including mild winter weather, slumping fertilizer prices, and loss of an important customer contract due to quality concerns with its fire retardants. 

Eliminating the dividend frees up more cash to pay down debt and follows a 2021 dividend cut intended to provide more capital for developing a lithium site, which was abandoned just several years later. Compass Minerals is the epitome of the challenges of investing in turnarounds, especially when high debt and factors outside of their control (e.g. weather) are involved.
20
Very Unsafe
Great Ajax (AJAX) chopped its dividend by 40%. The mortgage REIT's rising borrowing costs were pressuring its profitability and dividend coverage, leading to the payout reduction and a decision to get a new external manager which granted the firm a term loan.
30
Unsafe
Leggett & Platt (LEG) cut its dividend by 89%. The fallen dividend king was stung by the frozen housing market, which sapped demand for its mattress components and furniture. With no signs of a recovery in sight, the dividend consuming about all of the company's free cash flow, and balance sheet metrics becoming stretched, management made the tough decision to reduce the payout to prioritize debt reduction. The cut was bigger than investors had feared, sending shares down as much as 30% on the news.
40
Unsafe
3M (MMM) announced plans to cut its dividend. The industrial conglomerate and former dividend aristocrat faced a long string of large settlement payments tied to its so-called forever chemicals and faulty earplugs. These obligations were set to consumer more free cash flow than the firm could generate, especially after spinning off its healthcare segment.

Reducing the dividend, likely by around 30% to 40% after accounting for any payouts made by the spun off healthcare company, gives 3M flexibility to invest in its turnaround plans and maintain a strong balance sheet. The dividend cut will become official when the May dividend is declared, with 3M targeting a 40% free cash flow payout ratio.
20
Very Unsafe
Black Stone Minerals, L.P. (BSM) cut its distribution by 21%. The owner of oil and natural gas mineral interests was pressured by gas prices, which slumped to a near-three-decade low and will lead to production curtailments and delays in drilling new wells. Reducing the distribution brings Black Stone Minerals' payout ratio back under 100% to preserve financial flexibility until gas prices recover.
20
Very Unsafe
Granite Point Mortgage Trust (GPMT) reduced its dividend by 25%. Steep credit losses resulting from the commercial mortgage REIT's high exposure to office loans has weighed on Granite Point's profitability and made it necessary to right-size the dividend twice in the last two years.
30
Unsafe
New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) cut its dividend by 80%. This marked the regional bank's second reduction in as many months, reflecting struggles with bad loans and aggressive acquisitive growth that created a need to build more capital.
30
Unsafe
B. Riley (RILY) slashed its dividend by 50%. The small investment bank and diversified financial services company contended with rising investment losses and a stretched balance sheet following years of acquisitive growth.
30
Unsafe
Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV) chopped its dividend by 60%. The retailer of athletic shoes, apparel, and equipment flipped to an operating loss as consumers pulled back spending on discretionary goods. Cutting the dividend helps preserve Big 5's financial flexibility as it manages through a tough environment.
16
Very Unsafe
Global Net Lease (GNL) lowered its dividend by 22%. Rising borrowing costs and asset sales intended to reduce leverage stretched the retail REIT's payout ratio to unsustainable levels. Reducing the dividend will free up cash for much needed debt reduction.
30
Unsafe
Ellington Financial (EFC) lowered its dividend by 13% months after calling off its merger with Ajax Corp. The mortgage REIT's payout ratio exceeded 100% as higher borrowing costs and nonperforming commercial mortgage loans bit into profits.
20
Very Unsafe
Great Ajax Corp (AJAX) reduced its dividend by 9%, marking its second cut in six months to bring its payout lower by 50% over that period. The mortgage REIT operated at a loss after taking write-downs on part of its loan portfolio.
77
Safe
Fidelity National (FIS) lowered its dividend by 31%. This was a tough cut to catch since the firm had a payout ratio near 50%, an investment-grade BBB credit rating, and made a discretionary decision to shift its capital allocation priorities to favor buybacks over dividends. In fact, Fidelity's share repurchase program for 2024 was increased by $500 million, more than the roughly $380 million saved per year from lowering the dividend.
50
Borderline
International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) cut its dividend by 51%. The behind-the-scenes company that works with consumer brands to create scents, tastes, and other ingredients faced soft demand as customers reduced inventory levels. This pressured IFF's balance sheet, which was stretched following a large acquisition.

A year earlier we had cautioned, "Should IFF encounter any additional setbacks that would delay its deleveraging plan or outlook to eventually generate $1.5 billion of free cash flow annually, the company's unwavering commitment to the dividend could change to further prioritize debt reduction."
60
Borderline
Bayer (BAYRY) slashed its dividend by 95%. While the drug and crop sciences company had a modest free cash flow payout ratio below 40%, the firm needed to direct more cash towards debt reduction following its disastrous acquisition of Monsanto.
40
Unsafe
NuSkin (NUS) slashed its dividend by 85%. The seller of beauty and wellness products needed to evolve as its controversial multilevel marketing business model continued losing customers and paid affiliates. Cutting the dividend provides more financial flexibility to transform the company. Shares fell over 20% on the news.
40
Unsafe
KKR Real Estate Finance Trust (KREF) reduced its dividend by 42%. The commercial mortgage REIT's payout ratio was squeezed by rising borrowing costs, non-performing loans (especially office properties, which account for over 20% of KREF's portfolio), and expected asset sales. Shares fell around 15% on the news.
41
Borderline
New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) cut its dividend by 71%. After acquiring parts of Signature's business following its failure in March 2023, the regional bank's assets jumped over the $100 billion threshold regulators consider to be classified as a large bank and subjected to stricter capital requirements.

Reducing the dividend accelerated NYCB's efforts to build capital but came as a big surprise given the firm's payout ratio near 50% and its CEO's comments less than a year earlier after acquiring Signature:

"And our dividend coverage ratio just on the pro forma analysis, the ratio comes down substantially. So we're very pleased about where we end up on a projected basis what we see as our dividend coverage ratio dramatically improving on the dividend side. So obviously, the dividend is strong, and we're very comfortable and going forward into these multiple transactions, it becomes even more, in our opinion, much stronger."
24
Unsafe
Southern Copper (SCCO) cut its dividend by 20%. The copper producer had been maintaining a payout ratio above 100% and desired to maintain a solid cash position for the company.
20
Very Unsafe
Office Properties (OPI) lowered its dividend by 55%. Challenged by lower occupancy, higher borrowing costs, a tough environment to sell assets, and a wall of debt maturities, the junk-rated office REIT needed to increase its liquidity. Shares slumped over 30% on the news.
30
Unsafe
Walgreens (WBA) cut its dividend by 48%. The drugstore chain and fallen dividend aristocrat broke its streak of paying uninterrupted dividends since 1932. This action frees up more capital to improve Walgreens' stretched balance sheet following several acquisitions and allows the firm to invest more in health care services, such as primary care clinics. 

The cut was in line with our estimates as we cautioned that "until the company makes meaningful progress in improving the trajectory of its health services initiative, boosting free cash flow, and reducing leverage, we believe investors should prepare for the possibility of a dividend reduction in the range of 30% to 50%."
21
Unsafe
ARMOUR Residential REIT (ARR) cut its dividend by 40%. The residential mortgage REIT faced building pressure from rising interest rates, which reduce the profit spread ARMOUR earns from borrowing at short-term, variable rates and investing in long-term securities that pay fixed interest rates.
40
Unsafe
Medifast (MED) suspended its dividend. The seller of subscription-based diet meals maintained a debt-free balance sheet, and free cash flow continued to cover the dividend. However, the threat from new weight-loss drugs led management to adjust capital allocation policy to prioritize growth investments, including a stake in a virtual primary care provider.
40
Unsafe
SL Green (SLG) lowered its monthly dividend by 8%. The Manhattan-focused office REIT has faced cash flow pressure from rising borrowing costs (SLG has a high dependence on floating-rate debt) and sliding occupancy rates. Cutting the dividend will help keep the REIT's payout ratio below 100%.
20
Very Unsafe
Chimera (CIM) slashed its dividend by 39%. Rising borrowing costs continued eroding the credit-focused residential mortgage REIT's profits and resulted in an unsustainable payout ratio. The company had previously cut its dividend by over 20% in September 2022 and June 2023 but needed to go deeper as interest rates remained higher for longer, making its variable-rate financing more expensive.
20
Very Unsafe
Great Ajax Corp (AJX) cut its dividend by 45%. The mortgage REIT adjusted its payout after terminating a planned merger with Ellington Financial. Rising borrowing costs had also pressured the highly leveraged REIT's profitability and dividend coverage.
30
Unsafe
Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV) lowered its dividend by 50%. The retailer of athletic shoes, apparel, and equipment saw its payout ratio spike to unsustainable levels as consumers pulled back spending on discretionary goods. Cutting the dividend helps preserve Big 5's financial flexibility as it manages through a tough environment.
20
Very Unsafe
PetMed Express (PETS) suspended its dividend. The online retailer of pet medications and other animal-related products had a debt-free balance sheet but had an unsustainable payout ratio. Margins in recent years had eroded due to intense competitive pressure from much larger rivals such as Walmart and Chewy. Shares plunged 25% on the news.
50
Borderline
VF Corp (VFC) cut its dividend by 70%. Under new leadership, the company behind Vans shoes and The North Face apparel opted to prioritize debt reduction. With cash flow coming in lower than management previously expected due to growth challenges at Vans, lowering the dividend provides more financial flexibility.
30
Unsafe
Sachem (SACH) reduced its dividend by 15%. The mortgage REIT's payout ratio exceeded 100%, with higher borrowing costs applying additional pressure to future dividend coverage.
13
Very Unsafe
Orchard Island Capital (ORC) slashed its dividend by 25%. With the spread between long-term and short-term interest rates continuing to narrow, the residential mortgage REIT's profits and dividend coverage remained under pressure.
73
Safe
W.P. Carey (WPC) announced plans to rebase its dividend after deciding to exit all of its office properties (15% of rent). We estimate a dividend cut of around 20% is likely in the fourth quarter, reflecting the lost cash flow.

Although a lower dividend rate has not officially been announced, as straight shooters, we are including this event in our Dividend Safety Score track record to log the rating we had for W.P. Carey before this news arrived.

This was a surprising announcement since W.P. Carey had provided no hints that a divestiture of these properties was desirable or even a consideration. The REIT's offices had delivered stable results as well, with occupancy above 95%, long remaining lease terms, and a diverse mix of mostly investment-grade tenants. 

W.P. Carey's dividend was also reasonably covered with an 80% payout ratio, and the balance sheet had a BBB+ credit rating. Had management chosen to maintain the dividend, we estimate the REIT's payout ratio would have hovered near 90% in 2024, a level it touched several years ago.

Investors will receive shares in an office REIT spin-off to lessen some of the dividend blow. But this (upcoming) cut was a tough one to predict given the amount of discretion involved with management's decisions to divest a chunk of the portfolio and roll with a lower payout ratio.
40
Unsafe
Brandywine Realty (BDN) cut its dividend by 21%. The office REIT needed to address a payout ratio hovering near 100%, rising debt costs, and challenging conditions to sell properties, which were a key part of its financing plans.
15
Very Unsafe
Ready Capital (RC) lowered its dividend by 10%, marking its second cut in the last year. The commercial mortgage REIT's payout ratio was projected to remain above 100% after closing its acquisition of Broadmark Realty, which lowered Ready Capital's leverage but increased exposure to the cyclical construction market (15% of total loans).
40
Unsafe
Hawaiian Electric (HE) suspended its dividend. The utility needed to preserve cash after receiving blame for causing devastating wildfires in Maui by neglecting to deactivate the electricity in dozens of vulnerable powerlines that were damaged by a hurricane's wind gusts. Extensive costs for legal battles and rebuilding and restoring power in Maui are expected.
60
Borderline
Foot Locker (FL) suspended its dividend. The sneaker retailer's core customer – low- to middle-income shoppers – were increasingly squeezed by inflation and spending less on discretionary items like apparel and shoes. This resulted in more aggressive promotional activity to clear elevated inventory levels, sapping profits.

In a June 2023 note, we wrote that "if we were shareholders wanting to maintain some exposure to American consumers, we would probably sell our shares and invest in off-price apparel retailers Ross Stores or TJ Maxx, which both boast stronger dividend coverage and a rosier outlook."
20
Very Unsafe
Medical Properties Trust (MPW) lowered its dividend by 48%. The controversial hospital REIT needed to prioritize debt reduction. With a payout ratio nearing 100% and lingering concerns about key tenant Steward's financial health, cutting the dividend was an easy lever to pull to retain more cash.
20
Very Unsafe
Mativ (MATV) slashed its dividend by 75%. The specialty materials manufacturer faced rising pressure to pay down debt as production challenges and customer inventory reductions delayed Mativ's deleveraging goals. Leverage had spiked to dangerous levels from the 2022 merger between Schweitzer-Mauduit and Neenah, which formed Mativ.
40
Unsafe
CONSOL Energy (CEIX) suspended its dividend. The junk-rated coal producer opted to return value to shareholders through repurchases of CEIX stock rather than dividends.
35
Unsafe
Icahn Enterprise Partners (IEP) chopped its distribution by 50%. The investment firm run by Carl Icahn needed to conserve cash as distributions exceeded earnings and IEP's balance sheet was stretched. Shares fell around 30% on the news.
20
Very Unsafe
Camping World (CWH) slashed its dividend by 80%. America's largest retailer of RVs maintained an aggressive payout ratio and high leverage. Reducing the dividend provides more flexibility to execute the firm's acquisition-led growth strategy.
50
Borderline
BorgWarner (BWA) effectively lowered its overall dividend by 4% as part of the spin-off of its internal-combustion operations. The auto parts manufacturer reduced its headline dividend by 35%, but expected payouts from the spin-off, which investors received shares in, result in a total annual dividends edging lower by only around 4%.
40
Unsafe
Piedmont (PDM) cut its dividend by 40%. The office REIT needed to right-size its payout as rising interest expenses eroded dividend coverage.
30
Unsafe
Two Harbors (TWO) cut its dividend by 25%. The residential mortgage REIT's earnings were under pressure as rising interest rates drove up the cost of variable-rate financing. Lowering the dividend was necessary to address the company's unsustainable payout ratio, which had pushed well above 100%.
20
Very Unsafe
AFC Gamma (AFCG) reduced its dividend by 14%. The mortgage REIT, which originates loans to cannabis operators, faced rising credit risk across its portfolio as falling weed prices and a higher cost of capital put stress on its borrowers. Cutting the dividend helped ensure AFC Gamma's payout ratio would stay below 100%.
15
Very Unsafe
Cherry Hill Mortgage (CHMI) slashed its dividend by 44%. The residential mortgage REIT's payout ratio had pushed above 100% as borrowing costs rose alongside short-term interest rates.
20
Very Unsafe
Chimera (CIM) lowered its dividend by 22%. Rising borrowing costs ate into the credit-focused residential mortgage REIT's profits and resulted in an unsustainable payout ratio. The company had previously cut its dividend by 30% in September 2022 but needed to go deeper as interest rates remained higher for longer, making its variable-rate financing more expensive.
20
Very Unsafe
Redwood Trust (RWT) slashed its dividend by 30%. As a mortgage REIT, the firm's dependence on short-term financing to invest in or originate residential jumbo mortgages, business bridge loans, and other securities made Redwood vulnerable to rising borrowing costs. Reducing the payout better aligns the dividend with the company's lower earnings base.
40
Unsafe
New York Mortgage Trust (NYMT) cut its dividend by 25%. The residential mortgage REIT's earnings had been under pressure with rising interest rates pushing up borrowing costs.
80
Safe
Advance Auto Parts (AAP) cut its dividend by 83%. This was a tough one as three months prior management reiterated their commitment to the dividend and forecasted free cash flow to cover the payout. Ratings agency S&P had similar expectations that helped support the firm's investment-grade credit rating.

Instead, Advance Auto Parts lowered its profit guidance by 40%, driven by plans to reduce pricing in order to take back share in the market for replacement automotive parts. Cost inflation amplified the hit to margins.

It's rare for a company to fall so short of guidance in such a short period. We underestimated just how fast these headwinds could crush earnings, especially considering replacement automotive parts have historically been a stable business.
20
Very Unsafe
Big Lots (BIG) suspended its dividend. The troubled discount retailer needed to preserve liquidity as bloated inventory levels, a highly promotional environment, rising borrowing costs, and softening consumer spending had put the highly-leveraged company into the red.
16
Very Unsafe
Global Net Lease (GNL) announced plans to reduce its dividend by 12%. The retail REIT expected to rebase its dividend once it acquires peer Necessity Retail and internalizes its management team. However, with a junk credit rating, elevated payout ratio, and some exposure to the distressed office sector, the company's dividend profile remains suspect.
20
Very Unsafe
Newell (NWL) slashed its dividend by 70%, marking its first cut since 2009. The maker of popular consumer brands such as Rubbermaid and Coleman shifted its capital allocation policy to prioritize debt reduction as profits remain under pressure from persistent supply chain issues and higher borrowing costs. 
20
Very Unsafe
Franchise Group (FRG) suspended its dividend. The operator of franchised businesses such as Vitamin Shoppe and American Freight was forced to halt its dividend as its leverage ratio exceeded limits permitted by the firm's credit agreements.
32
Unsafe
PacWest (PACW) reduced its dividend by 96%. Based in Los Angeles, the regional bank's higher mix of uninsured and venture deposits creating funding challenges as clients anxious about bank failures pulled their money out. Facing an uncertain environment and potential changes in regulatory capital requirements, PacWest wanted to accelerate its plans to improve its capital levels.
40
Unsafe
City Office REIT (CIO) cut its dividend by 50%. Facing cash flow pressure from higher interest costs and lower occupancy due to remote and hybrid work, the office REIT rightsized its dividend to bring its payout ratio to a more sustainable level.
40
Unsafe
Enviva (EVA) suspended its dividend just one month after management said "our dividend is safe" at the firm's investor day. With construction and financing costs rising for major capacity expansion projects, the processor of utility-grade wood pellets needed to preserve liquidity and better protect its junk-rated balance sheet. Shares fell around 60% on the news.
40
Unsafe
Paramount (PARA) slashed its dividend by 79%, marking the media and entertainment giant's first cut since 2009. Management opted to preserve more cash as investments in its unprofitable streaming service, Paramount+, remain elevated and recently caused a credit rating downgrade to BBB-. Shares slumped over 20%.
20
Very Unsafe
Great Ajax Corp (AJX), a residential mortgage REIT, cut its dividend by 20%, marking its second cut in three months. Higher interest costs continued to squeeze the highly-levered firm's dividend coverage.
15
Very Unsafe
USD Partners LP (USDP) suspended its dividend. The midstream services provider desired to preserve liquidity with its credit facility needing to be refinanced later in the year.
18
Very Unsafe
Vornado (VNO) suspended its dividend. High interest rates and falling demand for office properties challenged the NYC-focused office REIT's plans to reduce debt by selling properties to reduce debt.
8
Very Unsafe
Via Renewables (VIA) suspended its dividend. The independent retail energy services provider was losing money on its commodity price hedges and desired to preserve liquidity. Shares slumped over 20% on the news.
20
Very Unsafe
Office Properties (OPI) slashed its dividend by 55%. Challenged by lower occupancy and rising borrowing costs, the office REIT needed to lower its payout ratio. Management also announced an all-stock merger with a healthcare REIT to diversify the firm's cash flow. Shares slumped over 20% on the news
40
Unsafe
Invesco Mortgage Capital (IVR), a residential mortgage REIT, cut its dividend by 38%. Higher interest rates continued weighing on the firm's book value and leverage as the value of its mortgage-backed securities declined.
40
Unsafe
First Republic (FRC) suspended its dividend. The San Francisco-based regional bank saw its financial position deteriorate rapidly as anxious customers pulled their uninsured deposits following the failure of nearby Silicon Valley Bank. Preserving liquidity became a top priority as the firm's credit rating was rapidly downgraded from A- to B+ within two weeks.
13
Very Unsafe
Manhattan Bridge Capital (LOAN) lowered its dividend by 10%. The provider of short-term loans to real estate investors in New York needed to lower its payout ratio, which had jumped over 100% after rising interest rates pressured earnings.
60
Borderline
Calavo Growers (CVGW), a leader in the avocado industry, cut its dividend by 65%. Crop delays and higher freight, labor, and material costs pressured short-term earnings. Although cash flow had returned to covering the dividend and Calavo maintained little debt, management wanted to reach a lower payout ratio sooner.
20
Very Unsafe
Great Ajax Corp (AJX), a residential mortgage REIT, lowered its dividend by 7%, marking its first cut since the 2020 pandemic. Higher interest costs squeezed the highly-levered firm's dividend coverage.
10
Very Unsafe
Newtek (NEWT) slashed its dividend by 74%. In 2021, the business development company in 2021 announced plans to convert to a bank holding company. Banks have much lower payout ratios than BDCs, so the dividend needed to be right-sized as part of this transition.
40
Unsafe
Newmont (NEM) reduced its payout by 27% after implementing a new dividend framework. The gold miner's updated policy maintains the same fixed base rate dividend but raised the minimum gold price tied to the variable dividend in part to account for the inflationary costs impacting the company's margins.
60
Borderline
Intel (INTC) lowered its dividend by 66%, opting to preserve more cash as the chip maker continues its capital-intensive transformation.

Following our discussion in January, which cautioned that investors should be comfortable with a "fuzzier outlook for the dividend," this action doesn't come as a big surprise given the rising amount of management discretion involved with deciding whether to maintain Intel's payout.

On one hand, Intel's $28 billion of cash and investments and A+ credit rating give the firm significant firepower to invest in its future and operate at a free cash flow deficit in the short term, including the payment of dividends.

But against a tough backdrop of weak PC demand, it was hard to gauge whether Intel would keep its dividend intact, even if it had the financial ability to do so.
60
Borderline
Healthcare Services Group (HCSG) suspended its dividend to priority share repurchases. Responding to its weak stock price, the provided of housekeeping and dietary services to long-term care facilities announced plans to buy back 10% of its shares. This stock repurchase plan is valued at around $95 million, or nearly 50% more than the prior dividend. Shares rose over 5% on the news.
21
Unsafe
ARMOUR Residential REIT (ARR) reduced its dividend by 20%. The residential mortgage REIT faced headwinds from rising interest rates, which reduce the profit spread ARMOUR earns from borrowing at short-term, variable rates and investing in long-term securities that pay fixed interest rates.
40
Unsafe
Annaly (NLY), a residential mortgage REIT, warned investors to expect a dividend cut later in the quarter as higher interest rates pinched profits. We will update this entry once a cut is formally announced but anticipate a reduction of around 30%.
50
Borderline
MGM Resorts (MGM) suspended its dividend to prioritize share buybacks. The operator of hotels and casinos was paying a token dividend ($0.01 per share, good for a 0.02% yield) and found it wasn't worth the "burdensome" administrative hassle. Share buybacks dwarf the dividend's annual amount by a factor of five, representing a greater capital return for investors.
70
Safe
V.F. Corp (VFC) cut its dividend by 41%. Excess inventory, weakening apparel demand, and a desire to protect the firm's BBB+ rated balance sheet led management to sacrifice V.F. Corp's 50-year dividend growth streak.

We had expected the company behind The North Face jackets and Vans shoes to use its healthy liquidity position to defend its dividend until industry conditions improved and returned the firm to a sustainable payout ratio.

Going forward, we will be more critical of a company's short-term challenges despite a lengthy dividend growth track record.
20
Very Unsafe
Hanesbrands (HBI) suspended its dividend. The apparel company was burning through cash due to ordering too much inventory. With leverage pushing higher and borrowing costs rising with a substantial amount of debt needing to be refinanced in the near future, management wanted to direct all cash flow towards deleveraging. Shares plunged nearly 20%.
18
Very Unsafe
Vornado (VNO) cut its dividend by 29%. With interest rates rising and no material improvement in occupancy, the NYC office REIT's declining profits pushed the firm's payout ratio above 100%.
30
Unsafe
Algonquin (AQN) slashed its dividend by 40%. Facing pressure from rising interest rates and supply chain issues, the growth-oriented Canadian-based utility needed to free up more cash and will pursue extra asset sales to defend its BBB credit rating. 

With access to affordable equity capital unavailable in current market conditions, Algonquin will depend on debt to fund its growth plans, making an investment-grade credit rating all the more important to maintain.
33
Unsafe
KNOP Offshore Partners LP (KNOP) axed its distribution by 95%. The operator of shuttle tanker ships used to transport oil from offshore oil fields faced lower vessel utilization rates and income in the year ahead. Coupled with a large debt load, preserving liquidity became a higher priority. Shares plunged 40% on the news.
30
Unsafe
Gladstone (GOOD) reduced its dividend by 20%. The office and industrial properties REIT anticipated further economic headwinds and wanted to shore up its balance sheet. The payout reduction snapped Gladstone's streak of paying uninterrupted dividends since 2004.
40
Unsafe
Granite Point (GPMT) cut its dividend by 20%. The commercial mortgage REIT faced pressure from rising borrowing costs and lower real estate transaction volume, pushing its payout ratio well above 100%.
30
Unsafe
Two Harbors Investment Corp. (TWO), a residential mortgage REIT, lowered its dividend by 12%. Higher interest rates squeezed profits and pushed the firm's payout ratio about 100%. 
15
Very Unsafe
Ready Capital (RC) lowered its by 5%. The commercial mortgage REIT faced profit headwinds as income received from the government's Covid-era Paycheck Protection Program ran off.
40
Unsafe
MFA Financial (MFA) cut its dividend by 20%. Higher borrowing expenses pressured the residential mortgage REIT's earnings, as variable-rate financing costs rise while income from long-term investments with fixed coupons remains flat.
61
Safe
Douglas Emmett (DEI) lowered its dividend by 32% as management opted to return capital with a large new share repurchase plan instead, which was announced at the same time as the cut. Shares rose 4% on the news.

This was a hard dividend cut to catch in advance because the decision to prioritize buybacks over dividends involved a lot of discretion from the firm's board of directors.

From a financial perspective, the office REIT was in good shape with a payout ratio below 70%, little variable-rate debt, no debt maturities until the end of 2024, and a cash flow stream that was expected to remain stable in the year ahead. Douglas had paid uninterrupted dividends for over a decade, too.

We are using this as a learning experience to continue improving our Dividend Safety Score system. For example, we may put more weight on the risk of buybacks taking priority over dividends if a stock's valuation is very weak and management shows more interest in repurchases.
22
Unsafe
PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (PMT) cut its dividend by 15%. The mortgage REIT's dividend coverage and book value were pressured by widening credit spreads.
60
Borderline
SL Green (SLG) reduced its monthly dividend by 13%. The office REIT's cash flow was expected to dip due to rising borrowing costs and higher property costs driven by increased leasing activity. The small dividend cut aligned the payout with SL Green's taxable income, and management noted a special dividend in 2023 is possible.
20
Very Unsafe
B&G Foods (BGS) slashed its dividend by 60%. Rising interest rates, substantial raw material inflation, and tighter consumer spending led the retail foods maker to substantially reduce its dividend in order to protect the balance sheet.
9
Very Unsafe
National CineMedia (NCMI) suspended its dividend. The owner of the largest cinema advertising network in the U.S. continued battling operating losses and a stretched balance sheet due to the pandemic's effects. Canceling the dividend helps preserve liquidity.
11
Very Unsafe
Lumen (LUMN) suspended its dividend. The telecom provider's ambitious fiber internet growth investments strained free cash flow and pressured the firm's junk-rated balance sheet. Eliminating the payout preserves cash for debt reduction and growth spending.
30
Unsafe
Sachem (SACH) lowered its dividend by 7%. The mortgage REIT's payout ratio exceeded 100%, with higher borrowing costs applying additional pressure to future dividend coverage.
6
Very Unsafe
Fortress Transportation (FTAI) cut its dividend by 9%. The firm spun off its infrastructure business, resulting in less cash flow going forward. The partnership also plans to convert to a corporation.
40
Unsafe
Invesco Mortgage Capital (IVR), a residential mortgage REIT, slashed its dividend by 28%. Sharply higher interest rates pressured the firm's book value and leverage as the value of its mortgage-backed securities declined.
27
Unsafe
Chimera (CIM) cut its dividend by 30%. The residential mortgage REIT's earnings were pressured by the sharp jump in interest rates, which increase Chimera's borrowing costs.
43
Borderline
Steelcase (SCS) reduced its dividend by 31%. The furniture maker experienced a volume decline in orders and wanted to conserve more cash in light of lower than expected return-to-office trends in the Americas.
50
Borderline
American Eagle (AEO) suspended its dividend. The apparel retailer, faced with excess inventory and uneven demand patterns, desired to prioritize liquidity and financial flexibility in the near term.
13
Very Unsafe
Orchard Island Capital (ORC) slashed its dividend by 29%, marking the residential mortgage REIT's third cut in 2022. With the spread between long-term and short-term interest rates continuing to narrow, Orchard's profits and dividend coverage remained under pressure.
40
Unsafe
Mativ (MATV) lowered its dividend by 9%. Formed by the merger between specialty materials manufacturers Schweitzer-Mauduit and Neenah, Mativ needs to prioritize debt reduction.
45
Borderline
Mercury General (MCY) cut its dividend by 50%. The auto insurer faced high loss ratios as elevated inflation rates significantly increased the cost to settle claims. While Mercury remains well capitalized, management desired to take a more conservative stance with the dividend in response to the plunge in profits.
30
Unsafe
Industrial Logistics Properties Trust (ILPT) slashed its dividend by 97%. The industrial REIT's leverage spiked after acquiring peer Monmouth earlier in 2022. With interest rates rising and financing plans such as asset sales no longer practical with the market slumping, ILPT's dividend cut helped preserve liquidity until conditions could later improve. Shares of ILPT slumped over 20% on the news.
9
Very Unsafe
National CineMedia (NCMI) reduced its dividend by 40%. The owner of the largest cinema advertising network in the U.S. continued battling operating losses and a stretched balance sheet due to the pandemic's effects.
8
Very Unsafe
Ellington Residential Mortgage REIT (EARN) cut its dividend by 20%. Rising interest rates pressured the firm's net interest margin, core earnings, and dividend coverage.
13
Very Unsafe
Orchard Island Capital (ORC) lowered its dividend by 18%, marking the residential mortgage REIT's second cut in three months. With the spread between long-term and short-term interest rates continuing to narrow, Orchard's profits and dividend coverage remained under pressure.
10
Very Unsafe
Lument Finance Trust (LFT) slashed its dividend by 33%. Following dilutive capital raises and faced with rising borrowing costs, the small commercial mortgage REIT cut its payout to ensure the dividend remains covered as Lument scales its portfolio.
50
Borderline
Owens & Minor (OMI) suspended its dividend. The medical supplies distributor was paying a paltry dividend after having axed its payout in 2018, when Owens & Minor had a Very Unsafe rating. Management opted to eliminate the dividend entirely to prioritize growth investments going forward.
40
Unsafe
PPL (PPL) lowered its dividend by 52%, reflecting the sale of its U.K. utility business. The regulated utility rebased its dividend to reflect the ongoing earnings generated by its remaining operations in Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Back in March 2021, when PPL found a buyer for its U.K. assets, we estimated a dividend cut upwards of 50% was likely.
13
Very Unsafe
Orchard Island Capital (ORC) reduced its dividend by 15%. The residential mortgage REIT saw its net interest margin compress as the spread between long-term and short-term interest rates narrowed, reducing profits and weakening dividend coverage.
9
Very Unsafe
Compass Diversified (CODI) cut its dividend by 31%. The acquirer of niche industrial and consumer firms elected to be taxed as a corporation rather than a partnership, expanding its potential shareholder base but necessitating a dividend cut as the firm must now use some cash flow to pay income taxes.
50
Borderline
Compass Minerals (CMP) slashed its dividend by 79%. After discovering a significant lithium resource, the salt and fertilizer producer wanted to direct more cash flow towards developing this mineral site to focus on growing and diversifying the business faster.
12
Very Unsafe
Sprague Resources LP (SRLP) cut its distribution by 35%. The wholesale provider of refined products and natural gas needed to improve its distribution coverage ratio as it invested more in growth projects and desired to maintain its leverage ratio target.
25
Unsafe
CatchMark Timber Trust chopped its dividend by 44%, sending its shares falling over 20%. The timberland REIT's stretched balance sheet and elevated payout ratio drove the cut after CatchMark exited a poorly performing joint venture.
23
Unsafe
Höegh LNG Partners LP (HMLP) slashed its distribution by 98%. The owner and operator of liquefied natural gas carriers needed to conserve cash after facing refinancing challenges related to its credit facility.
30
Unsafe
Shell Midstream Partners, L.P. (SHLX) cut its distribution by 35%. The pandemic hurt demand for transporting and storing crude oil and refined products, causing Shell Midstream's payout ratio to rise to unsustainable levels.
40
Unsafe
National Health Investors (NHI) cut its dividend by 18%. The healthcare REIT's senior housing and skilled nursing tenants faced a challenging environment caused by the pandemic. Lowering the dividend will enable NHI to provide more support to its tenants.
60
Borderline
AT&T (T) announced plans to reduce its dividend in mid-2022. This will occur after AT&T combines its WarnerMedia business (around 20% of cash flow) with rival Discovery to form a new publicly traded company, which will be 71% owned by AT&T shareholders.

Unwinding AT&T's sprawling operations will result in a dividend cut since the new media business will not pay dividends. Based on management's payout ratio guidance for AT&T's remaining business, we expect the firm's dividend to be cut by around 40%.

AT&T had a Borderline Safe Dividend Safety Score prior to this news, reflecting its stable cash flow but elevated debt load. While AT&T did not have to reduce its dividend, management ultimately decided to reverse the firm's prior strategy to create the largest vertically integrated content and distribution company.

These moves will hopefully position AT&T for a more conservative and predictable future that has potential to deliver stronger total returns.
17
Very Unsafe
Investcorp Credit Management BDC (ICMB) reduced its dividend by 28%.
73
Safe
HollyFrontier (HFC) temporarily suspended its dividend to fund an acquisition, breaking its 25-plus year streak of uninterrupted payouts. Management plans to reinstate the dividend at its previous rate within one year.

Anticipating this action was challenging since the firm did not need to make an acquisition and had not telegraphed any plans to do so. Instead, this was primarily an opportunistic purchase that came at "a very good price," according to management.

Funding the deal by temporarily eliminating the dividend was also a decision that involved a lot of discretion. HollyFrontier has the lowest leverage ratio across its peer group and had more than enough liquidity to fund the entire acquisition several times over.

Management ultimately opted to take a very conservative approach to ensure HollyFrontier maintains its BBB- investment-grade credit rating while continuing to invest in its business.
5
Very Unsafe
Navios Maritime Acquisition (NNA), an owner and operator of tanker vessels, suspended its dividend to preserve cash as the business struggled with too much debt and weak freight rates caused by the pandemic.
40
Unsafe
GEO Group (GEO) suspended its dividend. The private prison REIT needed to maximize its use of cash flow for debt reduction in light of an increasingly challenging political environment.
35
Unsafe
Bayer (BAYRY) cut its dividend by 29%. The German manufacturer of crop chemicals and pharmaceuticals needed to prioritize protecting its balance sheet after making a costly acquisition and facing substantial legal liabilities tied to Roundup, a popular weedkiller product.
20
Very Unsafe
Antero Midstream (AM) lowered its dividend by 27%. The pipeline company faced upward pressure on its capital budget after its sole customer, natural gas producer Antero Resources, entered into a new drilling agreement. Reducing the dividend will ensure that Antero Midstream's free cash flow will cover both its capital expenditures and dividend payments going forward.
41
Borderline
Healthpeak Properties (PEAK), a healthcare REIT, reduced its dividend by 19%. Management desired to right-size the firm's payout ratio as Healthpeak divested its senior housing properties and gradually reinvested the proceeds to rebuild its cash flow.
29
Unsafe
NGL Energy Partners LP (NGL) suspended its distribution. The midstream MLP needed to refinance some of its debt, and NGL's lenders required the firm to eliminate distributions until its high leverage was reduced to a safer level.
49
Borderline
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced plans to reduce its dividend beginning in 2022 after it completes the separation of its consumer health business (about 30% of sales). We estimate the firm's aggregate distributions will fall by around 30% once both companies' new dividend policies go into effect, reflecting management's desire to run the business with a lower payout ratio.
40
Unsafe
GEO Group (GEO), one of the largest operators of privately managed prisons in America, cut its dividend by 27%. This marked the firm's second dividend reduction in six months as management further prioritized debt reduction in light of an increasingly challenging political climate. 
30
Unsafe
RioCan (RIOCF) cut its dividend by 33%. The Canadian retail REIT in May 2020 had assured investors it would not cut its dividend but changed course as the pandemic dragged on. A smaller dividend will provide RioCan with a more conservative payout ratio while freeing up more cash flow for portfolio investments and debt reduction.
5
Very Unsafe
Navios Maritime Acquisition (NNA), an owner and operator of tanker vessels, cut its dividend by 83% to preserve cash as the business struggled with too much debt.
5
Very Unsafe
SFL Corporation (SFL) cut its dividend by 40%. SFL owns a fleet of tankers, container vessels, and offshore drilling rigs. An offshore customer is exploring bankruptcy, hurting SFL's cash flow outlook and driving the dividend reduction. 
24
Unsafe
GasLog Partners LP (GLOP) slashed its distribution by 92%. The owner and operator of liquefied natural gas carriers faced challenging market conditions and needed to prioritize deleveraging its balance sheet. Shares fell more than 30% on the news.
44
Borderline
Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) suspended its dividend. The global brewer opted to forego its next semi-annual dividend payment to prioritize deleveraging efforts, which were slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, given expectations for improving results, management kept the door open to pay a final 2020 dividend with a decision expected in February 2021.
29
Unsafe
NGL Energy Partners LP (NGL) cut its distribution by 50%. The diversified midstream energy company was saddled with debt and needed to improve its leverage profile as it worked with its bank group to extend the expiration date of its credit facility. Lower the distribution, which was otherwise well covered by cash flow, will help with debt reduction.
40
Unsafe
Energy Transfer (ET), a major provider of midstream energy services, cut its distribution by 50%. The firm faced mounting pressure to protect its BBB- credit rating as domestic energy production declined and weak commodity prices hurt shale producers. Reducing the distribution frees up more cash for debt reduction and brings the firm closer to covering all of its distribution and capital spending needs with internally generated cash flow only.
30
Unsafe
CVR Energy (CVI) suspended its dividend. The petroleum refiner and nitrogen fertilizer manufacturer was losing money as the pandemic sapped gasoline demand. 
35
Unsafe
Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT), a pure-play Manhattan and greater New York metropolitan area REIT, suspended its dividend. Management wanted to preserve the firm's financial flexibility given the unprecedented amount of uncertainty created by COVID-19, especially for its flagship property the Empire State building.
10
Very Unsafe
Macerich (MAC) cut its dividend by 70%, marking the mall REIT's second payout reduction in less than six months. Low rent collection rates and the firm's weak balance sheet forced the firm to preserve more capital in order to maintain financial flexibility during a period of intense uncertainty.
6
Very Unsafe
Pennsylvania Real Estate (PEI) suspended its dividend. The distressed shopping mall REIT had previously cut its dividend by 90% in March as the pandemic upended its business.
7
Very Unsafe
Garrison Capital (GARS), a business development company, reduced its dividend by 67%. Net investment income did not cover the dividend due to lower interest rates, credit-related losses, and high transaction costs as part of Garrison's proposed merger.
40
Unsafe
GEO Group (GEO), one of the largest operators of privately managed prisons in America, cut its dividend by 29%. Management decided to prioritize debt reduction as more lenders refuse to work with companies that manage private prisons and immigration detention centers.
30
Unsafe
BP (BP) cut its dividend by 50%. The plunge in energy prices strained the oil giant's cash flow and leverage. Reducing the dividend enables BP to protect its balance sheet and free up more capital for investment in lower-carbon energy.
35
Unsafe
Blackrock TCP Capital (TCPC) lowered its dividend by 17%. Falling interest rates pressured the business development company's net investment income and payout ratio.
40
Unsafe
Ciner Resources LP (CINR) suspended its distribution. The soda ash manufacturer faced weaker demand due to the pandemic, causing its markets to become oversupplied. With its operating losing money and leverage rising, management opted to eliminate the distribution.
30
Unsafe
Capital Product Partners LP (CPLP), a shipping company, cut its distribution by 71%. The pandemic increased crew expenses and hurt global trade, reducing shipping rates and container prices.
26
Unsafe
Wyndham Destinations (WYND) cut its dividend by 40%. The world's largest vacation ownership and exchange company was strained by the plunge in travel and tourism caused by the pandemic.
18
Very Unsafe
Vornado Realty (VNO) cut its dividend by 20%. The New York-focused office and retail REIT desired to preserve liquidity in this time of crisis.
30
Unsafe
Cypress Environment Partners (CELP) suspended its distribution due to challenges in the energy industry. The master limited partnership generated most of its cash flow from providing inspection services for energy infrastructure assets such as pipelines.
36
Unsafe
Boston Private (BPFH) slashed its dividend by 50%. The provider of private banking and wealth management services opted to rightsize its payout ratio as it braced for pandemic-related loan losses.
18
Very Unsafe
Martin Midstream Partners (MMLP) chopped its distribution by 92%. New leverage covenant conditions at the partnership's revolving credit facility forced the midstream services provider to cut its payout.
30
Unsafe
Suburban Propane Partners (SPH) slashed its distribution by 50%. The propane distributor desired to accelerate its debt reduction efforts in light of elevated demand uncertainty created by COVID-19.
50
Borderline
Capital One (COF) cut its dividend by 75%. While the bank remains well capitalized, the Federal Reserve's new income limitation rule placed on America's largest financial institutions forced Capital One to reduce its payout. 

The Fed said dividends cannot exceed an amount equal to the average of the firm's net income for the four preceding quarters. Capital One recorded a large provision for credit losses in the second quarter, causing its trailing payout ratio to exceed 100%.
11
Very Unsafe
Stellus Capital (SCM), a business development company, cut its dividend by 26%. Falling interest rates pushed the firm's payout ratio above 100%, so lowering the dividend better aligns it with earnings going forward.
15
Very Unsafe
MV Oil Trust (MVO), which owns interests in oil and gas wells, suspended its distribution. Weak energy prices drove a net loss for the firm.
75
Safe
Dominion Energy (D) expects to reduce its dividend by 33% beginning in the fourth quarter of 2020. Management decided to sell the utility's natural gas and transmission storage business, which generated nearly 25% of Dominion's earnings. This reduction in cash flow drove the decision to rightsize the dividend.

Given the discretionary nature of this strategic decision to change Dominion's long-term business mix, we aren't sure there was much we could've done to get ahead of this cut. 

Dominion's earnings were growing at a mid-single-digit pace, the dividend remained covered by earnings, liquidity was solid, the firm's investment-grade credit rating was stable, the pandemic's impact appeared limited, and Dominion's midstream business had a steady outlook.

Shares of Dominion fell around 11% on the news but had recovered all of their losses by the end of the month.
40
Unsafe
Wells Fargo (WFC) cut its dividend by 80%. While the bank remains well capitalized, the Federal Reserve's new income limitation rule placed on America's largest financial institutions forced Wells Fargo to reduce its payout. 

The Fed said dividends cannot exceed an amount equal to the average of the firm's net income for the four preceding quarters. Wells Fargo's payout ratio was above 100% as the firm's earnings were suppressed by rising loan loss provisions and high legal costs related to its sales scandal.
25
Unsafe
Simon Property Group (SPG), an owner and operator of malls around the world, cut its dividend by 38% as the coronavirus pandemic hit mall tenants hard, many of whom were already struggling due to the rise of e-commerce.
47
Borderline
Armanino Foods of Distinction (AMNF) cut its dividend by 36%.
40
Unsafe
Ventas (VTR), the second largest medical REIT in the U.S., cut its dividend by 43%. Ventas owns and operates senior housing facilities, which were faced with unprecedented challenges and cost increases resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
15
Very Unsafe
Cherry Hill Mortgage Investment Corporation (CHMI) cut its dividend by 33%.
24
Unsafe
Kite Realty Group Trust (KRG) slashed its dividend by 84%.
40
Unsafe
CoreCivic (CXW) suspended its dividend.
20
Very Unsafe
Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance (ARI) reduced its dividend by 13%.
15
Very Unsafe
Ready Capital Corporation (RC) cut its dividend by 37.5%.
29
Unsafe
Redwood Trust (RWT) cut its dividend by 61%.
24
Unsafe
Crown Crafts (CRWS) suspended its dividend.
12
Very Unsafe
Annaly Capital Management (NLY) reduced its dividend by 12%.
27
Unsafe
Chimera Investment Corporation (CIM) cut its dividend by 40%.
10
Very Unsafe
Dynex Capital (DX) reduced its dividend by 13%.
40
Unsafe
Urstadt Biddle Properties (UBP) slashed its dividend by 75%.
13
Very Unsafe
Taubman Centers (TCO), a mall REIT, suspended its dividend. The pandemic forced many retailers to temporary close, causing landlords' rent collection rates to plunge. 
17
Very Unsafe
Xinyuan Real Estate (XIN) cut its dividend by 75%. The residential real estate developer based in China experienced a delay in project construction sales due to nationwide lockdowns, putting additional pressure on its high payout ratio and financial leverage. 
6
Very Unsafe
AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC), a nationwide operator of movie theaters, suspended its dividend. AMC was burning through cash after theaters closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the firm needed to remain in compliance with debt covenants.
19
Very Unsafe
PennantPark Investment Corporation (PNNT) cut its dividend by 33%.
8
Very Unsafe
Oxford Square Capital Corp. (OXSQ) cut its dividend by 48% as the value of the business development company's portfolio of loans fell sharply and steep losses were expected.
7
Very Unsafe
Flexsteel Industries (FLXS) slashed its dividend by 77%.
30
Unsafe
Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY) slashed its dividend by an additional 91%. The oil and gas producer had originally announced a dividend cut in early March but reduced the dividend even further as conditions continued to deteriorate.
51
Borderline
Valhi (VHI) cut its dividend by 67%.
40
Unsafe
Lamar Advertising Company (REIT) (LAMR) cut its dividend by 50%.
45
Borderline
DXC Technology Company (DXC) suspended its dividend.
29
Unsafe
Ladder Capital Corp (LADR) cut its dividend by 41%.
50
Borderline
Ralph Lauren Corporation (RL) suspended its dividend.
8
Very Unsafe
Big 5 Sporting Goods Corporation (BGFV) suspended its dividend.
54
Borderline
Elbit Systems Ltd. (ESLT) reduced its dividend by 20%.
45
Borderline
Foot Locker (FL) suspended its dividend.
21
Unsafe
America First Multifamily Investors (ATAX) slashed its dividend by 77%.
26
Unsafe
Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR) suspended its dividend.
40
Unsafe
TJX Companies (TJX) suspended its dividend.
60
Borderline
Ross Stores (ROST) suspended its dividend.
23
Unsafe
Elmira Savings Bank (ESBK) cut its dividend by 35%.
42
Borderline
National Oilwell Varco (NOV) suspended its dividend.
20
Very Unsafe
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) suspended its dividend.
59
Borderline
Grupo Televisa, S.A.B. (TV) suspended its dividend.
20
Very Unsafe
Halliburton Company (HAL) slashed its dividend by 75%.
0
Very Unsafe
Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft (DB) suspended its dividend.
21
Unsafe
ARMOUR Residential REIT (ARR) slashed its dividend by 82%.
30
Unsafe
Imperial Brands PLC (IMBBY) cut its dividend by 33%.
30
Unsafe
VEREIT (VER) cut its dividend by 44%.
30
Unsafe
PBF Energy Inc (PBF) suspended its dividend.
17
Very Unsafe
PBF Logistics LP (PBFX) cut its dividend by 42%.
23
Unsafe
Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited (MLCO) suspended its dividend.
7
Very Unsafe
Strattec Security Corporation (STRT) suspended its dividend.
43
Borderline
Penske Automotive Group (PAG) suspended its dividend.
12
Very Unsafe
Psychemedics Corporation (PMD) suspended its dividend.
12
Very Unsafe
International Game Technology PLC (IGT) suspended its dividend.
46
Borderline
Ituran Location and Control Ltd. (ITRN) suspended its dividend.
50
Borderline
Linamar Corporation (LIMAF) cut its dividend by 50%.
84
Very Safe
Cantel Medical Corp. (CMD) suspended its dividend.
30
Unsafe
Xenia Hotels & Resorts (XHR) suspended its dividend.
35
Unsafe
Preferred Apartment Communities (APTS) cut its dividend by 31%.
11
Very Unsafe
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (RMCF) suspended its dividend.
6
Very Unsafe
Medley Capital Corporation (MCC) suspended its dividend.
6
Very Unsafe
Salem Media Group (SALM) suspended its dividend.
20
Very Unsafe
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers (SKT) suspended its dividend. The owner of outlet malls needed to preserve its balance sheet and maintain financial flexibility. Many of Tanger's retail tenants were struggling before the pandemic, and government-mandated shutdowns for non-essential stores served as the nail in the coffin for some of them and the dividend.
12
Very Unsafe
RPT Realty (RPT) suspended its dividend.
20
Very Unsafe
Ethan Allen Interiors (ETH) suspended its dividend.
30
Unsafe
Domtar Corporation (UFS) suspended its dividend.
13
Very Unsafe
U.S. Silica Holdings (SLCA) suspended its dividend.
14
Very Unsafe
Colony Capital (CLNY) suspended its dividend.
20
Very Unsafe
OFS Capital Corporation (OFS) cut its dividend by 50%.
7
Very Unsafe
New Senior Investment Group (SNR) cut its dividend by 50%.
35
Unsafe
Kimco Realty Corporation (KIM) suspended its dividend.
35
Unsafe
Outfront Media (OUT) suspended its dividend.
19
Very Unsafe
Monroe Capital Corporation (MRCC) reduced its dividend by 29%.
34
Unsafe
Summit Midstream Partners (SMLP) suspended its dividend.
40
Unsafe
Host Hotels & Resorts (HST) suspended its dividend.
17
Very Unsafe
Investcorp Credit Management BDC (ICMB) cut its dividend by 40%.
9
Very Unsafe
Independence Realty Trust (IRT) cut its dividend by 33%.
18
Very Unsafe
Solar Senior Capital Ltd. (SUNS) reduced its dividend by 17%.
20
Very Unsafe
THL Credit (TCRD) cut its dividend by 52%.
51
Borderline
Kingstone Companies (KINS) cut its dividend by 37%.
16
Very Unsafe
ProAssurance Corporation (PRA) slashed its dividend by 84%.
33
Unsafe
Weingarten Realty Investors (WRI) cut its dividend by 55%.
13
Very Unsafe
Manhattan Bridge Capital (LOAN) reduced its dividend by 10%.
24
Unsafe
GasLog Partners LP (GLOP) slashed its dividend by 77%.
9
Very Unsafe
BG Staffing (BGSF) slashed its dividend by 83%.
25
Unsafe
Exantas Capital Corp. (XAN) suspended its dividend.
34
Unsafe
BT Group (BT) suspended its dividend.
30
Unsafe
Brixmor Property Group (BRX) suspended its dividend.
58
Borderline
ArcelorMittal (MT) suspended its dividend.
26
Unsafe
KAR Auction Services (KAR) suspended its dividend.
45
Borderline
Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO) suspended its dividend.
50
Borderline
Welltower (WELL) reduced its dividend by 30%.
16
Very Unsafe
Western Asset Mortgage Capital Corporation (WMC) suspended its dividend.
30
Unsafe
CVR Energy (CVI) cut its dividend by 50%.
9
Very Unsafe
BlackRock Capital Investment Corporation (BKCC) reduced its dividend by 29%.
19
Very Unsafe
Extended Stay America (STAY) slashed its dividend by 96%.
21
Unsafe
Saratoga Investment Corp. (SAR) suspended its dividend.
25
Unsafe
FS KKR Capital Corp. (FSK) reduced its dividend by 21%.
35
Unsafe
Sculptor Capital Management (SCU) suspended its dividend.
25
Unsafe
EPR Properties (EPR) suspended its dividend.
9
Very Unsafe
GasLog Ltd. (GLOG) cut its dividend by 67%.
22
Unsafe
Wynn Resorts (WYNN) suspended its dividend.
25
Unsafe
Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation (VAC) suspended its dividend.
22
Unsafe
Westpac Banking Corporation (WBK) suspended its dividend.
40
Unsafe
Wendy's Company (WEN) cut its dividend by 50%.
22
Unsafe
Norbord (OSB) slashed its dividend by 75%.
26
Unsafe
Evolution Petroleum Corporation (EPM) slashed its dividend by 75%.
5
Very Unsafe
SFL Corporation Ltd. (SFL) reduced its dividend by 29%.
40
Unsafe
Walt Disney Company (DIS) suspended its dividend.
51
Borderline
WestRock Company (WRK) cut its dividend by 57%.
40
Unsafe
Cheesecake Factory Incorporated (CAKE) suspended its dividend.
59
Borderline
Carter's (CRI) suspended its dividend.
9
Very Unsafe
National CineMedia (NCMI) cut its dividend by 63%.
60
Borderline
Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL) suspended its dividend.
50
Borderline
Suncor Energy (SU) cut its dividend by 55%.
10
Very Unsafe
Capitala Finance Corp. (CPTA) suspended its dividend.
22
Unsafe
Viper Energy Partners LP (VNOM) slashed its dividend by 78%.
20
Very Unsafe
Great Ajax Corp. (AJX) cut its dividend by 45%.
25
Unsafe
High Country Bancorp (HCBC) cut its dividend by 50%.
27
Unsafe
Weyerhaeuser (WY), one of the world's largest private owners of timberlands, suspended its dividend. This will improve the REIT's financial flexibility as the COVID-19 pandemic reduces demand for wood products.
32
Unsafe
PacWest Bancorp (PACW) cut its dividend by 58%.
29
Unsafe
NuStar Energy L.P. (NS), one of the largest independent liquids terminal and pipeline operators in America, reduced its distribution by 33%.
41
Borderline
Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) lowered its dividend by 14% and began paying 80% of it in shares rather than cash. The REIT's gaming operators remain mostly closed due to the pandemic, though its major tenants have continued paying their rent.
33
Unsafe
American Airlines (AAL) suspended its dividend. The coronavirus-related plunge in travel demand, coupled with the high fixed costs of airlines, resulted in American burning through $70 million of cash per day.
45
Borderline
Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.B) cut its dividend by 66%. Here's what we wrote about Shell's dividend in a March 11 note:

"Shell faces a tough decision if oil prices remain depressed for the foreseeable future. The company may have to decide between lowering its sacrosanct dividend or risking its credit rating by stretching its balance sheet even further while hoping for better market conditions sooner rather than later.

Shell's dividend has been a safe bet for more than 70 years, but this time could be different, depending on how conservative management wants to be given the uncertainty facing the energy market."
51
Borderline
Dunkin' Brands Group (DNKN) suspended its dividend.
41
Borderline
Western Digital (WDC) suspended its dividend. The manufacturer of data storage devices had a new CEO start earlier this year. He wanted to reinvest more in Western Digital's business to better position it for the cloud while also continue deleveraging the balance sheet.
56
Borderline
Tenaris S.A. (TS) suspended its dividend.
20
Very Unsafe
Marcus Corporation (MCS) suspended its dividend.
25
Unsafe
Molson Coors Beverage Company (TAP) suspended its dividend.
17
Very Unsafe
Fidus Investment Corporation (FDUS) reduced its dividend by 23%.
25
Unsafe
Armada Hoffler Properties (AHH) suspended its dividend.
24
Unsafe
MGM Resorts (MGM) slashed its dividend by 98%. With most of its hotels and casinos closed, MGM needed to preserve its liquidity.
41
Borderline
Banco Bilbao (BBVA) suspended its dividend.
30
Unsafe
SITE Centers (SITC) suspended its dividend. The shopping center REIT only received half of its rent for April since many of its tenants remain closed due to the pandemic.
17
Very Unsafe
Westwood Holdings Group (WHG) suspended its dividend.
30
Unsafe
Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte, S.A.B. de C.V. (OMAB) suspended its dividend.
33
Unsafe
Dine Brands Global (DIN) suspended its dividend.
23
Unsafe
New Mountain Finance Corporation (NMFC) reduced its dividend by 12%.
83
Very Safe
Rollins (ROL) cut its dividend by 33%. Despite Rollins' pest control business being deemed essential during the coronavirus shutdown, management acted out of an abundance of caution, making this cut fairly discretionary and tough to get ahead of.

Nevertheless, Rollin's stock was up over 20% year-to-date while the S&P 500 was down over 10%. The balance sheet was in great shape, the business was generating strong cash flow, and the stock was off only 1% on the news. 
40
Unsafe
Methanex Corporation (MEOH) slashed its dividend by 90%.
30
Unsafe
Fresh Del Monte Produce (FDP) cut its dividend by 50%.
45
Borderline
Coca-Cola European Partners plc (CCEP) suspended its dividend.
42
Borderline
Citi Trends (CTRN) suspended its dividend.
50
Borderline
Ternium S.A. (TX) suspended its dividend.
35
Unsafe
Harley-Davidson (HOG) slashed its dividend by 95%.
41
Borderline
CNX Midstream Partners LP (CNXM) cut its dividend by 80%.
7
Very Unsafe
Chico's FAS (CHS) suspended its dividend.
29
Unsafe
NGL Energy Partners LP (NGL) cut its dividend by 49%.
25
Unsafe
Global Partners LP (GLP) reduced its dividend by 25%.
40
Unsafe
General Motors Company (GM) suspended its dividend.
25
Unsafe
Copa Holdings, S.A. (CPA) suspended its dividend.
24
Unsafe
CONSOL Coal Resources LP (CCR) suspended its dividend.
41
Borderline
Holly Energy Partners (HEP) cut its dividend by 48%.
48
Borderline
Equinor ASA (EQNR) cut its dividend by 67%.
41
Borderline
Invesco Ltd. (IVZ) cut its dividend by 50%.
45
Borderline
Alliance Data Systems Corporation (ADS) cut its dividend by 67%.
15
Very Unsafe
USD Partners LP (USDP) cut its dividend by 70%.
30
Unsafe
Expedia Group (EXPE) suspended its dividend.
17
Very Unsafe
SandRidge Permian Trust (PER) suspended its dividend.
32
Unsafe
Terex Corporation (TEX) suspended its dividend.
24
Unsafe
Southern Copper Corporation (SCCO) cut its dividend by 50%.
30
Unsafe
Black Stone Minerals (BSM) slashed its dividend by 73%.
51
Borderline
Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. (ROIC) suspended its dividend.
27
Unsafe
Manning & Napier (MN) suspended its dividend.
39
Unsafe
Natural Resource Partners L.P. (NRP) suspended its dividend.
21
Unsafe
Moelis & Company (MC) cut its dividend by 50%.
60
Borderline
Inter Parfums (IPAR) suspended its dividend.
66
Safe
STMicroelectronics (STM), a global semiconductor manufacturer, cut its dividend by 30%

This was a tough cut to identify in advance because STM's payout ratio was below 20% throughout the pandemic and the firm had a strong balance sheet with more cash than debt (plus a BBB investment grade credit rating). 

STM shares had a dividend yield below 1%, so few investors owned the stock for income. STM finished 2020 with a total return of 39%, reflecting the company's underlying strength despite the headline dividend cut.
10
Very Unsafe
Landmark Infrastructure Partners LP (LMRK) cut its dividend by 46%.
9
Very Unsafe
Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation (ANH) cut its dividend by 44%.
35
Unsafe
Meredith Corporation (MDP) suspended its dividend.
50
Borderline
Hexcel Corporation (HXL) suspended its dividend.
37
Unsafe
EnLink Midstream (ENLC) cut its dividend by 50%.
20
Very Unsafe
Western Midstream Partners (WES) cut its dividend by 50%.
35
Unsafe
Schlumberger Limited (SLB) slashed its dividend by 75%.
30
Unsafe
Orange S.A. (ORAN) reduced its dividend by 29%.
19
Very Unsafe
Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) suspended its dividend.
99
Very Safe
Following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian government mandated that banks could not pay out any dividends in order to preserve capital. As a result, HDFC Bank (HDB) was forced to suspended its dividend. With a low 0.8% dividend yield, however, HDB's dividend was not a significant contributor to the stock's return.
59
Borderline
MTS Systems Corporation (MTSC) suspended its dividend.
35
Unsafe
Dana Incorporated (DAN) suspended its dividend.
50
Borderline
Columbia Sportswear Company (COLM) suspended its dividend.
30
Unsafe
Cedar Fair (FUN) suspended its dividend.
24
Unsafe
Vermilion Energy (VET) suspended its dividend.
60
Borderline
Estée Lauder (EL) suspended its dividend.
26
Unsafe
Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior (BLX) cut its dividend by 35%.
20
Very Unsafe
Kohl's Corporation (KSS) suspended its dividend.
19
Very Unsafe
Noble Energy (NBL) slashed its dividend by 83%.
36
Unsafe
Hallador Energy Company (HNRG) suspended its dividend.
15
Very Unsafe
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) suspended its dividend.
8
Very Unsafe
Washington Prime Group (WPG) suspended its dividend.
21
Unsafe
Gladstone Capital Corporation (GLAD) reduced its dividend by 7%.
40
Unsafe
Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) suspended its dividend.
6
Very Unsafe
Covanta Holding Corporation (CVA) cut its dividend by 68%.
44
Borderline
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (BUD) cut its dividend by 50%.
25
Unsafe
DICK'S Sporting Goods (DKS) suspended its dividend.
15
Very Unsafe
Cinemark Holdings (CNK) suspended its dividend.
35
Unsafe
Genesis Energy (GEL) slashed its dividend by 73%.
50
Borderline
Eagle Materials (EXP) suspended its dividend.
7
Very Unsafe
Harvest Capital Credit Corporation (HCAP) suspended its dividend.
25
Unsafe
Golub Capital BDC (GBDC) reduced its dividend by 12%.
59
Borderline
CorEnergy Infrastructure Trust (CORR) cut its dividend by 93%.
40
Unsafe
SkyWest (SKYW) suspended its dividend.
30
Unsafe
Royal Caribbean (RCL), an owner and operator of cruiselines, suspended its dividend as cruises were canceled following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
40
Unsafe
SM Energy Company (SM) slashed its dividend by 80%.
13
Very Unsafe
Orchid Island Capital (ORC) cut its dividend by 31%.
23
Unsafe
AGNC Investment Corp. (AGNC) reduced its dividend by 25%.
9
Very Unsafe
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (SIX) suspended its dividend.
48
Borderline
Plains All American Pipeline (PAA) cut its dividend by 50%.
50
Borderline
Plains GP Holdings (PAGP) cut its dividend by 50%.
12
Very Unsafe
Pacific Coast Oil Trust (ROYT) suspended its dividend.
67
Safe
CAE (CAE) suspended its dividend.
30
Unsafe
Arconic (HWM) suspended its dividend.
38
Unsafe
R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company (RRD) suspended its dividend.
20
Very Unsafe
Cato Corporation (CATO) suspended its dividend.
70
Safe
Blackbaud (BLKB) suspended its dividend.
16
Very Unsafe
Diversified Royalty Corp. (BEVFF) reduced its dividend by 15%.
41
Borderline
CNH Industrial N.V. (CNHI) suspended its dividend.
69
Safe
Herman Miller (MLHR) suspended its dividend.
17
Very Unsafe
BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (BPT) suspended its dividend.
17
Very Unsafe
Quad/Graphics (QUAD) suspended its dividend.
30
Unsafe
Cenovus Energy (CVE), an integrated oil and gas company based in Canada, suspended its dividend in response to an extreme decline in oil prices.
37
Unsafe
Aegon N.V. (AEG) suspended its dividend.
40
Unsafe
Autoliv (ALV), a manufacturer of vehicle safety systems, suspended its dividend as automotive manufacturers around the world idled their factories during the coronavirus pandemic.
20
Very Unsafe
Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation (MIC) suspended its dividend.
20
Very Unsafe
Enable Midstream Partners, LP (ENBL) cut its dividend by 50%.
34
Unsafe
Diversified Healthcare Trust (DHC), an owner long-term care facilities, slashed its dividend by 93% as the coronavirus placed even more pressure on the firm's weak balance sheet and high payout ratio.
50
Borderline
CenterPoint Energy (CNP), a public utility company, cut its dividend by 52% due to the firm's reliance on its MLP, which reduced its dividend by 50% the same day, to fund growth projects.
58
Borderline
American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) suspended its dividend.
36
Unsafe
Brinker International (EAT) suspended its dividend.
55
Borderline
Vail Resorts (MTN), an operator of mountain resorts and ski areas, suspended its dividend as properties were forced to close. Vail came into the crisis on reasonably strong footing, but the complete closure of its facilities for an unknown amount of time was an unprecedented challenge.
10
Very Unsafe
Gannett Co. (GCI), the owner of publications such as USA Today, suspended its dividend as advertising revenue was expected to decline significantly due to the global shutdown of businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
40
Unsafe
PVH Corp. (PVH), a designer and retailer of brands such as Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, suspended its dividend as sales quickly dried up after retail outlets were closed around the world.
30
Unsafe
Helmerich & Payne (HP), an oil and gas producer, cut its dividend by 65%.
16
Very Unsafe
Global Net Lease (GNL) reduced its dividend by 25%.
26
Unsafe
Murphy Oil Corporation (MUR) cut its dividend by 50%.
19
Very Unsafe
Golar LNG Partners LP (GMLP) slashed its dividend by 95% as the MLP was forced to preserve capital to reduce debt.
46
Borderline
Veolia Environnement S.A. (VEOEY) cut its dividend by 46%.
40
Unsafe
Barclays PLC (BCS) suspended its dividend.
40
Unsafe
Lloyds Banking Group plc (LYG) suspended its dividend.
11
Very Unsafe
Daktronics (DAKT) suspended its dividend.
35
Unsafe
Carnival (CCL), an owner and operator of cruiselines, suspended its dividend as cruises were canceled following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
41
Borderline
HSBC Holdings plc (HSBC), a bank based in the U.K., suspended its dividend to preserve capital during the coronavirus pandemic.
30
Unsafe
New Residential Investment Corp. (NRZ), a mortgage REIT, slashed its dividend by 90% as mortgage-backed securities declined significantly in value due to economic consequences of the coronavirus.
40
Unsafe
WPP plc (WPP), the largest ad-agency holding company in the world, suspended its dividend as advertising budgets dried up during the coronavirus-related global shutdown.
6
Very Unsafe
Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PEI), a retail REIT, slashed its dividend by 90%.
27
Unsafe
ING Groep N.V. (ING), a Europe-based bank, suspended its dividend after the European Central Bank recommended that banks suspend dividend payments to free up capital for emergency lending.
44
Borderline
Inter Pipeline Ltd. (IPPLF) cut its dividend by 72% as the sudden steep drop in global energy prices was expected to place pressure on pipeline revenue.
25
Unsafe
Service Properties Trust (SVC) slashed its dividend by 98%.
30
Unsafe
Ruth's Hospitality Group (RUTH) suspended its dividend.
25
Unsafe
Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) suspended its dividend.
53
Borderline
La-Z-Boy Incorporated (LZB), a furniture maker and retailer, suspended its dividend as factories, distribution facilities, and retail outlets were forced to close.
29
Unsafe
Redwood Trust (RWT), a mortgage REIT, temporarily suspended its dividend. Redwood's high use of leverage left little room to cover the dividend in the event of market volatility.
19
Very Unsafe
L Brands (LB), an apparel retailer best known for its Victoria Secret stores, suspended its dividend as stores were forced to close nationwide. L Brands' financial flexibility was already in question coming into the coronavirus crisis.
12
Very Unsafe
AG Mortgage Investment Trust (MITT), a mortgage REIT, suspended its dividend as the coronavirus pressured the value of the firm's investments.
12
Very Unsafe
Granite Point Mortgage Trust (GPMT), a mortgage REIT, suspended its dividend as turmoil in financial markets put into question the performance of the firm's loans — Granite's high payout ratio and leverage left no alternative..
41
Borderline
BGC Partners (BGCP) cut its dividend by 93%.
35
Unsafe
Genesis Energy, L.P. (GEL) slashed its dividend by 72% as the highly-leveraged owner of midstream assets needed to preserve cash amidst record low oil prices .
50
Borderline
Lear Corporation (LEA), a manufacturer of parts for the auto industry, suspended its dividend as factories were forced to idle and new orders rapidly dried up.
35
Unsafe
Gap (GPS), an apparel retailer, suspended its dividend as stores were forced to closed around in the world in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
13
Very Unsafe
Arlington Asset Investment Corp. (AI), a mortgage REIT, suspended its dividend to preserve liquidity as a result of volatile market conditions relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
38
Unsafe
EQT Corporation (EQT), a oil and gas producer, suspended its dividend as oil prices crashed. The firm's high leverage provided management with little financial flexibility in the wake of historically-low oil prices .
49
Borderline
Tapestry (TPR), a luxury clothing and accessory designer and retailer, suspended its dividend in the face of unprecedented uncertainty as stores were closed around the world.
25
Unsafe
Signet Jewelers Limited (SIG), best known for its Kay Jeweler outlet stores, suspended its dividend as stores were closed nationwide.
40
Unsafe
Alaska Air Group (ALK), a U.S.-based airline, suspended its dividend as demand for air travel plummeted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
11
Very Unsafe
MFA Financial (MFA), a mortgage REIT, suspended its dividend in order to preserve liquidity.
6
Very Unsafe
Nabors Industries Ltd. (NBR), a provider and operator of oil rigs, suspended its dividend due to a steep drop in demand as oil producers cut back production when oil prices tanked.
11
Very Unsafe
City Office REIT (CIO) cut its dividend by 36%.
22
Unsafe
PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (PMT) cut its dividend by 47%.
40
Unsafe
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (CBRL), a casual restaurant chain in the U.S., suspended its dividend as dining rooms closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
30
Unsafe
Summit Hotel Properties (INN), an upscale hotel REIT, suspended its dividend as properties were closed nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic.
17
Very Unsafe
Sabra Health Care REIT (SBRA) cut its dividend by 33%.
45
Borderline
Noble Midstream Partners LP (NBLX) cut its dividend by 73% as the sudden collapse in oil prices was expected to pressure the MLP's cash flow.
47
Borderline
SYNNEX Corporation (SNX), a distributor of technology services and products, suspended its dividend due to the highly uncertain near-term outlook facing the business.
41
Borderline
Buckle (BKE) suspended its dividend.
8
Very Unsafe
Whitestone REIT (WSR), an owner of retail centers, cut its dividend by 63% as the already-struggling REIT didn't have the financial flexibility to withstand the looming pressure on rent revenue from coronavirus-related shutdowns.
15
Very Unsafe
Two Harbors Investment Corp. (TWO), a mortgage REIT, cut its dividend by 89% to preserve liquidity as the coronavirus pandemic rocked financial markets.
43
Borderline
Steelcase (SCS), an office furniture designer and manufacturer, cut its dividend by 52% as demand was expected to plummet in light of the global shutdown of office spaces.
55
Borderline
Texas Roadhouse (TXRH), a casual restaurant chain in the U.S., suspended its dividend to preserve cash as dining rooms were forced to close in response to the spread of the coronavirus.
17
Very Unsafe
Invesco Mortgage Capital (IVR), a mortgage REIT, suspended its dividend as the firm was unable to meet margin calls during the turmoil in financial markets.
57
Borderline
Aptiv PLC (APTV), a designer and manufacturer of vehicle components, suspended its dividend as car meakers were forced to idle factories. Despite a low payout ratio and sold balance sheet, management thought it was prudent to preserve cash amidst so much uncertainty.
10
Very Unsafe
New York Mortgage Trust (NYMT), a mortgage REIT, suspended its dividend as the firm was unable to meet margin calls during the turmoil in financial markets.
54
Borderline
Nordstrom (JWN), a upscale fashion retailer, suspended its dividend to preserve cash as stores were forced almost overnight to close nationwide.
50
Borderline
Banco Santander, S.A. (SAN), a bank in Spain, suspended its dividend in order to preserve capital and boost lending to the community in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
8
Very Unsafe
DCP Midstream, LP (DCP) cut its dividend by 50% as the firm's already-high payout ratio and leverage were set to be under pressure due to the collapse in oil prices.
22
Unsafe
Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. (OEC) suspended its dividend.
41
Borderline
Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), a copper mining company, suspended its dividend as copper prices plummeted following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
40
Unsafe
Boeing (BA) suspended its dividend. The airplane maker was in dire need of cash due to the grounding of the 737-MAX and as it became clear Boeing's customers (airlines) would be facing unprecedented financial strain due to the coronavirus outbreak. Boeing was downgraded to Unsafe on March 11, and shares had fallen almost 50% since.
25
Unsafe
Delta Air Lines (DAL) suspended its dividend as demand for air travel dropped at an unprecedented pace. We had previously downgraded Delta to Borderline Safe on March 10 as it became clear much travel would cease due to the coronavirus outbreak. Shares have fallen almost 50% since.
23
Unsafe
Ashford Hospitality Trust (AHT), an upscale hotel REIT, suspended its dividend as demand for accommodation plummeted following the outbreak of the coronavirus and resulting guidelines issued by the government.
40
Unsafe
Bloomin' Brands (BLMN) suspended its dividend as the operator of Outback Steakhouse and several other restaurants was forced to close dining rooms due to the coronavirus outbreak.
30
Unsafe
Macy's (M) suspended its dividend. Stores were closed nationwide due to the coronavirus outbreak, but the retailer's elevated debt levels, high payout ratio, and poor long-term outlook saw the firm's Dividend Safety Score rated Unsafe since September 2019.
30
Unsafe
Apple Hospitality (APLE), a REIT whose portfolio consists of Marriott and Hilton-branded hotels, suspended its monthly distribution to preserve cash as the coronavirus outbreak created an unprecedented shock on demand in for travel and accomodations.
40
Unsafe
Darden Restaurants (DRI), the operator of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouses in the U.S. and Canada, suspended its dividend to preserve cash amidst unprecedented uncertainty as to when its restaurants would reopen and how quickly customers would return.
40
Unsafe
Marriott International (MAR) suspended its dividend as demand plummeted amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
30
Unsafe
Ford (F) suspended its dividend to preserve cash and provide financial flexibility as factories shut down and the outlook for demand materially worsened following the outbreak of the coronavirus. Ford had never scored above Borderline Safe for Dividend Safety due to the firm's elevated payout ratio, less conservative balance sheet, and weak profitability.
37
Unsafe
Hersha Hospitality (HT), a REIT that invests in upscale hotels, suspended its dividend "due to the recent lodging demand shocks stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak".
30
Unsafe
DiamondRock Hospitality (DRH), a hotel REIT, suspended its dividend due to the uncertainty surrounding the impact of the coronavirus on business.
18
Very Unsafe
Target Resources (TRGP), an operator of midstream assets in the oil industry, slashed its dividend by 89% to free up cash to reduce debt as oil prices plunged. The company had never scored above Very Unsafe for Dividend Safety due to the high payout ratio and debt levels maintained by the firm.
25
Unsafe
Guess? (GES) postponed the declaration of its dividend as the apparel retailer was facing temporary closures worldwide. The firm's weaker balance sheet and high payout ratio left little room for any surprises, let alone the unprecedented shock in demand from the coronavirus outbreak.
25
Unsafe
RLJ Lodging Trust (RLJ), a hotel REIT, cut its dividend by 97%. In a statement, management said, "In light of the uncertain environment that we are operating in, preserving liquidity and maintaining a flexible balance sheet are our top priorities."
52
Borderline
Allegiant Travel Company (ALGT), a leisure travel company, suspended its dividend as travel demand dropped suddenly following the coronavirus outbreak. The firm's debt levels and payout ratio were in healthy shape prior to the sudden developments, making it hard to have gotten far ahead of this cut.
22
Unsafe
Designer Brands (DBI), an apparel retailer in the U.S. and Canada, slashed its dividend by 60% "in an abundance of caution and to preserve our financial flexibility during this difficult time". Stores had closed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, and the firm's high payout ratio and poor balance sheet left it with little capacity to take a major hit and still fund the dividend.
31
Unsafe
Crescent Point Energy (CPG) reduced its dividend by 75% in response to the drastic decline in oil prices. The oil producer's small size and relatively high leverage left the firm with little choice but to preserve cash and reduce capital spending in order to keep the lights on.
25
Unsafe
Chatham Lodging Trust (CLDT), a lodging real estate investment trust, suspended its dividend to preserve cash amidst unprecedented uncertainty as to when the company could reopen its hotels following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
41
Borderline
Ryman Hospitality Properties (RHP), a REIT specializing in upscale convention center resorts and music venues, suspended its dividend to preserve capital as events cancelled around the U.S. following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
19
Very Unsafe
Sotherly Hotels (SOHO), an upscale hotel REIT, suspended its dividend as demand plummeted due to the spread of the coronavirus.
44
Borderline
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (PEB) suspended its dividend "due to unprecedented uncertainty from the rapidly evolving impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry and hotel demand". Pebblerook had long scored on the lower end of Borderline Safe for Dividend Safety due the hotel industry's cyclicality as well as the firm's weaker balance sheet and relatively small size.
10
Very Unsafe
Macerich Company (MAC), a mall REIT, cut its dividend by 87% in anticipating of a material financial hit due to the closing of malls around the U.S. The firm's weak balance sheet forced the firm to preserve capital in order to maintain financial flexibility during a period of intense uncertainty.
22
Unsafe
Core Laboratories (CLB), a provider of equipment and services to the oil and gas industry, cut its dividend by 96% as oil producers cut spending in response to a plunge in oil prices. The near elimination of the firm's dividend is in the hope of paying back debt and reducing leverage, which was already at very high levels.
25
Unsafe
Vermillion Energy (VET), an oil and natural gas producer, slashed its dividend by 83%, the  firm's second cut to its monthly dividend in two weeks. Vermillion had previously paid uninterrupted dividends since 2001, but a weak balance sheet made the firm unable to cope with the "pronounced decline in global commodity prices".
44
Borderline
Park Hotels & Resorts (PK), an operator of luxury accommodations in the U.S., suspended its dividend as the hotel industry faced an unprecedented shock in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.
9
Very Unsafe
Ark Restaurants (ARKR) deferred payment of its next dividend. The small restaurant operator needed to preserve cash flow in light of "the unprecedented circumstances and rapidly changing situation with respect to the coronavirus disease."
23
Unsafe
Arc Resources (AETUF), a Canadian oil and gas producer, axed its dividend by 60%. The firm needed to protect its balance sheet following the plunge in oil prices.
25
Unsafe
Apache (APA) cut its dividend by 90%. The oil and gas exploration and production company needed to preserve capital after Saudi Arabia initiated an oil-price war. Apache's 19-year streak of uninterrupted dividends came to an end.
17
Very Unsafe
Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico, S.A.B. de C.V. (PAC) suspended its dividend.
12
Very Unsafe
MIND C.T.I. (MNDO), an Israeli-based billing and customer care software solutions provider, reduced its annual dividend by 8%. Revenue and profit had been on the decline as contracts were lost with several major customers and competition stiffened in the telecom market.
50
Borderline
Occidental Petroleum (OXY) slashed its dividend by 79%. Following a single-day decline of more than 20% in the price of oil, the highly leveraged oil and gas producer needed to preserve capital and lower its cash flow breakeven point as it prepared for a significantly weaker commodity price environment going forward.

We published a note on February 28, 2020, summarizing Oxy's dividend risk:

"The bottom line is that debt reduction needs to be a top priority, and organic deleveraging won't come easy with the dividend consuming so much of Oxy's free cash flow. An argument could be made that the most prudent course of action would be to cut the dividend to improve the firm's financial flexibility...

Oxy is basically a leveraged bet on the price of oil. If oil rallies higher and supports the firm's deleveraging and production growth goals, it wouldn't be surprising to see the stock double and its dividend continue growing.

But if the price of oil weakens further and asset sales become more difficult to execute, then Oxy's dividend could eventually find itself on the chopping block to free up cash for faster deleveraging...

Conservative investors may want to watch from the sidelines until management has made more progress paying down debt, improving Oxy's ability to handle periods of commodity price weakness as it has historically."
24
Unsafe
Vermilion Energy (VET) lowered its dividend by 50%. The oil and natural gas producer's profits remained under pressure due to weak commodity prices. With the dividend unlikely to be covered by free cash flow in this environment, plus the balance sheet's rising leverage, Vermilion's dividend cut will give the firm more flexibility. Shares fell 18% on the news.
19
Very Unsafe
Coty (COTY) suspended its dividend. The seller of branded perfumes, skin care, color cosmetics, and other beauty products was saddled with debt and under pressure as the pandemic caused a major sales decline.
18
Very Unsafe
Seadrill Partners LLC (SDLPF) suspended its dividend.
30
Unsafe
EQM Midstream Partners (EQM) effectively cut its distribution by 68% after agreeing to merge with its general partner in an all-stock transaction. The midstream MLP also renegotiated its natural gas gathering contracts with its upstream partner EQT, which needed fee relief in light of the challenging gas price environment. The combined company's leverage and distribution coverage ratio would be under pressure, so cutting the distribution improves the firm's financial flexibility.
6
Very Unsafe
AMC Entertainment (AMC) cut its dividend by 85%. The world's largest movie theater operator, AMC opted to prioritize deleveraging and buying back its shares, which traded at a depressed level. Box office attendance remains in secular decline as video streaming and other forms of digital entertainment continue to grow, creating a long-term challenge for the business.
8
Very Unsafe
Washington Prime Group (WPG) axed its dividend by 50%. Many of the shopping center REIT's tenants faced disruption from e-commerce, pressuring Washington Prime's earnings. The REIT's dividend was no longer covered by cash flow, and its balance sheet was saddled with debt. Cutting the dividend provides Washington Prime with a more sustainable payout ratio and flexibility to fund redevelopment projects.
9
Very Unsafe
Six Flags (SIX) slashed its dividend by 70%. The theme park operator was challenged by rising costs and soft growth, creating a need to invest more in its operations to improve the experience for its guests. With free cash flow failing to cover the dividend and its balance sheet saddled with debt, Six Flags needed to cut its payout to improve its financial flexibility. Shares plunged nearly 20% on the news.
18
Very Unsafe
JMP Group LLC (JMP) suspended its dividend.
20
Very Unsafe
Apollo Commercial Real Estate (ARI) lowered its dividend by 13%. The mortgage REIT was hurt by spread compression and a decline in interest rates, which reduced the interest income it could earn in commercial loan markets. Apollo's new dividend is better aligned with its lower earnings level going forward.
13
Very Unsafe
U.S. Silica (SLCA) cut its dividend by 68%. Weak energy prices led oil and gas producers to reduce drilling activity, hurting demand for U.S. Silica's frac sand. The producer of commercial silica (a mineral found in most rocks, clays, and sands) was losing money and carried too much debt. Cutting the dividend allows the firm to invest more in its non-energy businesses and provides greater flexibility to reduce debt.
55
Borderline
Spirit AeroSystems (SPR) cut its dividend by 92%. In December, we downgraded Spirit's Dividend Safety Score to Borderline Safe as it appeared more likely that Boeing, which accounts for 80% of the component supplier's revenue, would need to further reduce or even suspend production of its grounded 737 MAX aircraft. This would pressure Spirit's cash flow.

Although Spirit's payout ratio was only about 10% and the firm had an investment-grade credit rating, management opted to reduce the dividend "in an abundance of caution" to preserve liquidity until Boeing's production rates improve. At that time, the board will reevaluate the dividend.

With the stock's dividend yield below 1%, few investors likely owned Spirit for income. Shares of Spirit were also largely unchanged on the news, minimizing the damage from this event.
13
Very Unsafe
Manhattan Bridge Capital (LOAN) reduced its dividend by 8%. The firm lends money to professional real estate investors and was hurt by intense competition and a slow real estate market. These factors forced Manhattan to reduce its average interest rate, pressuring earnings. With its payout ratio above 100%, right-sizing the dividend was a prudent course of action.
24
Unsafe
GasLog Partners LP (GLOP) cut its distribution by 78%, sending its stock tumbling nearly 50% on the news. The owner and operator of liquefied natural gas carriers surprised many investors with this announcement since the firm maintained a reasonable distribution coverage ratio near 1.2x and had highlighted the "prudent coverage" of its payout in past quarters. 

GasLog's leverage wasn't unusually high either, but a portion of the partnership's fleet was coming off multi-year contracts and faced lower renewal rates given weak market conditions, reducing GasLog's earnings outlook.

Coupled with the stock's weak valuation, which made funding new vessel acquisitions challenging, GasLog decided to cut its distribution to focus more on strengthening its balance sheet.
41
Borderline
Black Stone Minerals, L.P. (BSM) lowered its distribution by 19%. The owner of oil and natural gas mineral interests expected falling commodity prices to reduce overall drilling activity in 2020. Although the distribution was covered by the firm's distributable cash flow and its leverage was reasonable, lowering the payout provides Black Stone Minerals with additional cash flow it can use to further improve its balance sheet, repurchase shares, and make acquisitions.
17
Very Unsafe
Westwood Holdings Group (WHG) slashed its dividend by 40%. The asset management industry continues facing disruption from low-cost index funds, and investment manager Westwood is no exception. The firm's actively-managed equity strategies experienced significant asset outflows which drove a 30% revenue decline in 2019. Cutting the dividend better aligns the payout with Westwood's lower earnings.
34
Unsafe
Summit Midstream Partners, LP (SMLP) cut its distribution by 57%, its second cut in less than a year. The operator of midstream energy infrastructure assets maintained a reasonable payout ratio well below 100%, but it continued carrying too much debt. Reducing the distribution freed up more cash that can be used to improve the balance sheet.
18
Very Unsafe
Martin Midstream Partners (MMLP) slashed its distribution by 75%. The midstream services provider desired to improve its access to capital by strengthening its distribution coverage ratio and further reducing its leverage. Cutting the distribution helps accomplish both goals, but this action sent MMLP shares falling 20%.
25
Unsafe
Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. (ARLP) cut its distribution by 26%. The coal MLP remained profitable but faced challenging end market conditions, driven by a collapse in international coal prices, low natural gas prices, and the world's continued transition to cleaner energy. Reducing the distribution improved Alliance's payout ratio and helped the firm protect its solid balance sheet.
37
Unsafe
EnLink Midstream (ENLC) cut its distribution by 34%. The struggling midstream energy service provider was operating with a high payout ratio and less-than-stellar debt levels. With the firm's share price in the tank, management decided to reduce the distribution and self-fund capital expenditures instead of relying on issuing equity to raise capital.
15
Very Unsafe
Range Resources (RRC) suspended its dividend. The shale gas producer was under pressure from weak natural gas prices. Although its dividend was relatively small (the stock's dividend yield was less than 2%), the firm needed to preserve cash to protect its balance sheet.
22
Unsafe
Core Laboratories (CLB) cut its dividend by 55%, ending its 10-plus year streak of uninterrupted payouts just two months after management said that "Core has no plans to cut our dividend."

The provider of analytical, diagnostic, and field services to the oil and gas industry was challenged by a decline in U.S. onshore activity and sluggish client activity levels in international and offshore crude oil markets. Although the business was still profitable and had reasonable leverage, management opted to cut the dividend to preserve Core Lab's solid balance sheet. Shares fell 20% on the news.
15
Very Unsafe
U.S. Steel (X) slashed its dividend by 80%. One of the oldest and highest-cost steel manufacturers in America, U.S. Steel faced increased financial pressure from falling steel prices, a large acquisition announced in October 2019, and aggressive investment plans to improve the performance of its mills. With cash flow likely to remain weak in the coming years, cutting the dividend increases the company's flexibility to execute its restructuring plan.
9
Very Unsafe
Anworth Mortgage (ANH) cut its dividend by 10%. The mortgage REIT generates income primarily based on the difference between the yield on its long-term mortgage assets and the cost of its short-term borrowings. Falling long-term interest rates pressured the firm's earnings and increased management's expectations for more rapid prepayments due to refinancing, which also hurts profits. With a payout ratio above 100%, Anworth needed to reduce its dividend to better align it with the firm's earnings.
10
Very Unsafe
Kewaunee Scientific (KEQU) suspended its dividend. The lab equipment and technical products maker had paid uninterrupted dividends for more than 20 years. While Kewaunee was growing its revenue and maintained a healthy balance sheet, the firm faced a very competitive marketplace and encountered operational inefficiencies which depressed its profitability. Management initiated a restructuring plan and decided to eliminate the dividend in order to invest more in improving the business. Shares fell more than 25% on the news.
6
Very Unsafe
Salem Media (SALM) cut its dividend by 62%. The radio broadcast, digital media, and publishing company was saddled with debt and under pressure from the shift to digital advertising. Reducing the dividend provides Salem with much needed cash to help improve its balance sheet as the firm's profitability erodes.
7
Very Unsafe
Garrison Capital (GARS) lowered its dividend by 35%. The business development company's profit was hurt by lower interest rates and an underperforming debt investment, keeping its payout ratio above 100%. Shares fell more than 10% on the news.
15
Very Unsafe
Tupperware (TUP) suspended its dividend. The maker of food storage containers, cookware, and beauty products needed to preserve cash to strengthen its balance sheet and gain more flexibility for its turnaround efforts. Tupperware's sales and cash flow remained under pressure as consumers opted for cheaper products and e-commerce challenged its direct-sales model. 
9
Very Unsafe
Medical Facilities (MFCSF) slashed its dividend by 75%. The owner and operator of surgical facilities was challenged by unfavorable payor and case mix changes, which pushed its payout ratio well above 100%. Shares fell more than 25% on the news.
13
Very Unsafe
Nielsen (NLSN) cut its dividend by 83%. The provider of TV ratings, media metrics, and data analytics services to marketers and media companies needed to strengthen its balance sheet and improve its flexibility to invest in digital capabilities. The rise of streaming video and advertisers' desire for more granular data on their audiences put pressure on the business.
11
Very Unsafe
Blue Capital Reinsurance Holdings Ltd. (BCRHF) suspended its dividend.
10
Very Unsafe
Vector Group (VGR) slashed its dividend by 50%, ending its 20-year dividend growth streak and sending its shares falling more than 10%. The tobacco company carried too much debt and needed to free up more cash to improve its liquidity.
22
Unsafe
Westpac (WBK) reduced its semi-annual dividend by 15%. Australia's oldest bank was under pressure from lower interest rates, which drove a double-digit decline in earnings. Cutting its dividend will help Westpac bring its payout ratio to a more sustainable range while also increasing its capital buffers and providing the lender with flexibility in case regulators alter capital rules in the future. 
24
Unsafe
Jernigan Capital (JCAP) cut its dividend by 34%. The mortgage REIT provides capital to operators of self-storage facilities and reduced its payout as part of its decision to internalize its management team and convert to an equity REIT that owns storage units. The right-sized dividend is better aligned with the firm's ongoing cash flow generation.
17
Very Unsafe
Quad/Graphics (QUAD) cut its dividend by 50%. The provider of commercial printing and marketing services desired additional financial flexibility to invest in growth opportunities and protect its balance sheet as it combatted ongoing print industry volume and pricing pressures. Shares fell more than 50% on the news.
22
Unsafe
Nokia (NOK) suspended its dividend, sending its shares falling more than 20% on the news. The telecom equipment maker felt pressure to invest more in 5G products and experienced profitability challenges in China. Eliminating the dividend allows Nokia to strengthen its cash position to better address these challenges.
55
Borderline
Fluor (FLR) lowered its dividend by 52%. Following a strategic review, the engineering and construction firm opted to divest businesses representing nearly 20% of its revenue to improve its long-term profitability. Reducing the dividend better aligns Fluor's payout with its ongoing cash flow generation and improves the company's financial flexibility as it evolves.
20
Very Unsafe
Dynagas LNG Partners LP (DLNG) suspended its dividend.
12
Very Unsafe
Anworth Mortgage (ANH) reduced its dividend by 10%. The mortgage REIT generates income primarily based on the difference between the yield on its long-term mortgage assets and the cost of its short-term borrowings. The flattening yield curve pressured the firm's earnings and kept its payout ratio above 100%, leading to the dividend reduction.
35
Unsafe
Friedman Industries (FRD) cut its dividend by 50%. The steel processor and pipe manufacturer was challenged by the continued decline in steel prices and softer demand, which pressured the firm's profitability.
15
Very Unsafe
Tailored Brands (TLRD) suspended its dividend. The apparel retailer operates stores under brands such as Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Banks. Tailored Brands had a reasonable payout ratio below 40%, but continued sales declines and a weak stock price led management to cut the dividend, freeing up more cash flow for debt repayment and share repurchases. Shares slumped 30% on the news.
5
Very Unsafe
Rayonier Advanced Materials (RYAM) suspended its dividend. The maker of performance fibers, lumber, and pulp was challenged by weak commodity markets. Losing money and struggling with a high debt burden, Rayonier needed to preserve cash.
12
Very Unsafe
AG Mortgage Investment Trust (MITT) reduced its dividend by 10%. The flattening yield curve pressured the mortgage REIT's earnings, pushing its payout ratio to an unsustainable level.
15
Very Unsafe
Cherry Hill (CHMI) lowered its dividend by 18%. The mortgage REIT saw prepayments accelerate due to falling mortgage rates, hurting the value of its mortgage servicing rights portfolio. With its payout ratio projected to exceed 100% in the year ahead, the firm needed to cut its dividend.
5
Very Unsafe
Golar LNG Limited (GLNG) suspended its dividend.
9
Very Unsafe
Just Energy (JE) suspended its dividend. The independent energy retailer was losing money and saddled with debt. Suspending its dividend will help the firm preserve liquidity. Shares fell about 40% on the news.
6
Very Unsafe
Medley Capital Corporation (MCC) suspended its dividend. The business development company contended with poor investment performance, which had pushed its payout ratio well above 100%, and faced uncertainty regarding a controversial merger which many shareholders opposed.
9
Very Unsafe
Himax Technologies (HIMX) suspended its dividend.
51
Borderline
Kingstone Companies (KINS), a property and casualty insurance company, cut its dividend by 53%. While the dividend was well covered by the firm's investment income, management chose to reduce the dividend to retain more cash and strengthen the balance sheet. The company had been facing weakening profitability with its products, especially with commercial liability insurance.
26
Unsafe
KAR Auction Services (KAR) reduced its dividend by 46% following the spin-off of its salvage car auction business. The spin-off company, Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA), has not announced a dividend, leaving dividend investors with an apparent reduction in their income.
7
Very Unsafe
Portman Ridge Finance (PTMN) cut its dividend by 40%. The business development company desired to more closely align dividends with net investment income being generated by the fund, resulting in a more sustainable payout ratio. 
9
Very Unsafe
BlackRock Capital (BKCC) lowered its dividend by 22%. Underperforming investments weighed on the business development company's earnings, pushing its payout ratio above 100%. Cutting the dividend better aligns the payout with the current earnings power of the firm.
10
Very Unsafe
Dynex Capital (DX) lowered its dividend by 17%. The mortgage REIT's earnings were pressured by the inverted yield curve that resulted in higher financing costs and lower mortgage rates driving higher prepayment rates.
18
Very Unsafe
Seadrill Partners (SDLP) slashed its dividend by 90%. The highly leveraged provider of offshore contract drilling services needed to preserve liquidity ahead of upcoming debt maturities.
25
Unsafe
Cal-Maine Foods (CALM) suspended its dividend.
36
Unsafe
RPC (RES) suspended its dividend.
58
Borderline
Deutsche Bank (DB) opted to radically restructure its business and suspended its dividend as part of management's new capital allocation plan, which included laying off about 20% of its workforce and exiting several business lines. The bank's forward payout ratio sat below 20% and its dividend yield was less than 1%, so the stock wasn't owned by many investors for the dividend.
21
Unsafe
ARMOUR Residential REIT (ARR) reduced its dividend by 11%. The residential mortgage REIT faced headwinds from falling long-term interest rates, which increase mortgage prepayment risk and reduce the profit spread the business earns.
13
Very Unsafe
Arlington Asset Investment Corp (AI) slashed its dividend by 40%. The highly leveraged mortgage REIT was under pressure as the flattening yield curve pushed down its earnings and was causing its payout ratio to rise to an unsustainable level.
15
Very Unsafe
Two Harbors Investment (TWO) reduced its dividend by 15%. Lower interest rates led to accelerated mortgage prepayment speeds, pressuring the residential mortgage REIT's earnings and sending its payout ratio above 100%.
23
Unsafe
Ashford Hospitality Trust (AHT) slashed its dividend by 50%. Despite maintaining a payout ratio near 50%, the hotel REIT had too much debt and needed to preserve more capital to strengthen its balance sheet. Shares plunged 15% on the news.
10
Very Unsafe
Anworth Mortgage (ANH) cut its dividend by 15%. The mortgage REIT generates income primarily based on the difference between the yield on its long-term mortgage assets and the cost of its short-term borrowings. The flattening yield curve pressured the firm's earnings and kept its payout ratio above 100%, leading to the dividend reduction.
9
Very Unsafe
Ellington Residential Mortgage REIT (EARN) reduced its dividend by 18%. The flattening yield curve reduced the firm's portfolio value, net interest margin, and core earnings. With a payout ratio above 100% and use of meaningful leverage, cutting its dividend was necessary.
17
Very Unsafe
GameStop (GME) eliminated its dividend, sending its shares plunging 30%. The troubled video game retailer experienced steep sales declines as online gaming disrupted its business. With a payout ratio approaching 100% and a highly leveraged balance sheet, GameStop needed to improve its financial flexibility.
15
Very Unsafe
Daktronics (DAKT) cut its dividend by 29%. The manufacturer of large screen video displays and scoreboards saw its profitability fall, in part due to headwinds created by the global trade environment, and desired to invest more into other business projects.
5
Very Unsafe
Ensco Rowan (ESV) suspended its dividend.
7
Very Unsafe
Medley Management (MDLY) suspended its dividend.
41
Borderline
Vodafone (VOD) reduced its dividend by 40%. In October 2018, we published a note warning that the telecom firm's payout could find itself on shaky ground in the year ahead. Here's a relevant excerpt:

"With Vodafone's dividend amounting to around $4.5 billion per year (compared to more than $35 billion of debt), reducing the payout is certainly a lever management could pull to accelerate deleveraging and create more breathing room for big-ticket investments the firm's network requires...

With the dividend consuming the bulk of Vodafone's free cash flow, plus rising leverage from the Liberty Global deal, the capital-intensive nature of its businesses, and very competitive telecom markets in Europe, there is little room for error...

As conservative income investors, we prefer to stick with financially stronger businesses that score closer to 60 or higher for Dividend Safety...The next year could be volatile for Vodafone as investors learn more about the company's health and ability to remain committed to its dividend."

Addressing the dividend cut, management called out weaker than expected revenue trends due to "a more intense environment." While the dividend was technically still covered by free cash flow, reducing the payout allows Vodafone to proactively prioritize faster deleveraging and improve its financial headroom as it invests for the future.
38
Unsafe
Ciner Resources LP (CINR) cut its distribution by 40%. Despite recording double-digit cash flow growth and maintaining a distribution coverage ratio above 1.0, the commodity chemical producer wanted to redirect more capital to its growth projects. CINR units fell 15% on the news.
15
Very Unsafe
Unique Fabricating (UFAB) suspended its dividend.
33
Unsafe
Foresight Energy LP (FELPQ) suspended its dividend.
75
Safe
J2 Global (JCOM), an internet services provider, suspended its dividend in favor of preserving cash to more aggressively grow its business through acquisitions. However, JCOM's stock yielded only 2%, suggesting few investors owned JCOM for its payout. In fact, JCOM's stock price actually rose following the announcement and is currently near an all-time high.

With a healthy 25% payout ratio, low debt levels, solid cash flow, and EPS growth of 15% in the most recent quarter, JCOM's dividend cut would've been difficult to predict. Management certainly could've continued to pay the dividend but felt the company (and shareholders) would benefit more from quick expansion into new business lines outside the company's legacy fax and voice products. Here's what management said:

"Our portfolio of businesses - and the leadership managing it - has never been stronger or deeper,” said Vivek Shah, CEO of j2 Global. “It’s reflected in our first quarter results, our improved outlook for the remainder of the year and the breadth of promising investment opportunities in front of us. It’s why we are confident that by suspending our dividend, we can prudently direct the increasing cash flow to opportunities within our businesses to create greater shareholder returns over the near, medium and long term."

Discretionary cuts like JCOM's are extremely rare. Nevertheless, we're constantly improving our scoring system and will continue to look for ways to better assess dividend risk profiles.
20
Very Unsafe
Annaly Capital Management (NLY), a mortgage REIT, cut its dividend by 17%. The firm had been the only company in its industry not to have reduced its payout over the last five years, but a flattening yield curve and compressed spreads pushed its payout ratio above 100%. 

Management did not want to increase Annaly's leverage or risk profile just to maintain the dividend, so the payout was reduced to a more sustainable level for the long term. Generally speaking, mortgage REITs depend on many factors outside of their control, making their dividends riskier.
24
Unsafe
Meridian Bioscience (VIVO) suspended its dividend. Despite paying dividends for more than 20 years and sporting a payout ratio below 65%, the supplier of healthcare diagnostic test kits changed its capital allocation philosophy to increase growth investments and help fund an acquisition. VIVO shares fell 14%.
9
Very Unsafe
JMP Group LLC (JMP) slashed its dividend by 56% after the investment banking and asset management firm converted from a partnership to a C corporation for tax purposes. Management lowered the company's target payout ratio from 95% to 50% in order to retain more cash flow for growth investments.
12
Very Unsafe
Martin Midstream Partners (MMLP) chopped its distribution in half. The midstream services provider was challenged by volatile commodity prices which pushed its payout ratio and debt metrics to dangerous levels. Management wanted to improve the distribution's coverage and the firm's financial flexibility. MMLP shares closed 21% lower on the news.
5
Very Unsafe
Consolidated Communications (CNSL) suspended its dividend, sending its shares tumbling more than 20%. The provider of internet and phone services was losing money and had too much debt. Cutting the dividend freed up more cash for deleveraging efforts.
6
Very Unsafe
Teekay Corporation (TK) suspended its dividend.
25
Unsafe
AGNC Investment Corp. (AGNC) lowered its monthly dividend by 11%. The mortgage REIT's net interest income was hurt by the flattening yield curve, leading management to reduce the dividend to keep AGNC's payout ratio at a more sustainable level.
27
Unsafe
RPC (RES), a provider of oilfield services and equipment, cut its dividend by 50%. Management cited uncertainty in the oilfield market, which was expected to pressure RPC's earnings in the year ahead. Shares fell 18% on the news.
26
Unsafe
Banc of California (BANC) cut its dividend by 54%. Despite maintaining an earnings payout ratio near 60%, the bank's new CEO opted to reduce the dividend in order preserve more capital that could be redeployed into "more useful and core aspects of the business in the near term." 
33
Unsafe
Blueknight Energy Partners, L.P. (BKEP) cut its distribution in half. The provider of midstream energy services had a payout ratio below 50%, but management desired to strengthen the firm's balance sheet.
12
Very Unsafe
Guess (GES) cut its dividend by 50%. Although the apparel retailer had paid uninterrupted dividends for more than a decade, management opted to reduce the payout in order direct more capital towards share repurchases. Guess's balance sheet was also stretched, and its high payout ratio limited the firm's financial flexibility.
20
Very Unsafe
Senior Housing Properties Trust (SNH) announced plans to reduce its annual payout to $0.55 to $0.65 per share, or a 62% dividend cut at the midpoint of guidance. The senior housing REIT needed to restructure a deal with a large struggling tenant, pressuring its cash flow. Combined with an elevated payout ratio and high debt load, a dividend cut was necessary. Shares fell nearly 20%.
2
Very Unsafe
Medley Management (MDLY) cut its dividend by 85%. The struggling investment manager was challenged by persistent asset outflows, which resulted in lower fee income and an unsustainable payout ratio.
45
Borderline
Guangshen Railway (GSH), a passenger and freight train operator in China, reduced its annual dividend by 25%. Although the state-controlled company's payout ratio stood below 60% and the firm had no debt, management sought an even lower payout ratio as the firm's investment spending increased.
19
Very Unsafe
CBL Properties (CBL) suspended its dividend for two quarters. The mall REIT faced a class action lawsuit from 2016 related to claims it overcharged tenants for electricity. With a costly settlement drawing closer and the firm's balance sheet remaining weak, CBL needed to preserve capital. Shares fell 25% on the news.
19
Very Unsafe
Uniti Group (UNIT), a wireless infrastructure REIT, chopped its dividend by 92%. The firm's largest customer, Windstream, declared bankruptcy, creating uncertainty regarding its ability to honor its lease contract with Uniti. 

The REIT's lenders amended their credit agreement with the company as well, including a restriction on Uniti's ability to pay dividends. Combined with the cash flow uncertainty due to Windstream's financial distress, Uniti's dividend cut will help preserve cash as management addresses these challenges.
40
Unsafe
Friedman Industries (FRD) reduced its dividend by 33%. The steel processor and pipe manufacturer operates a cyclical business and expected margins to contract. As a micro-cap stock, Friedman's capital allocation decisions can be more dynamic, too.
7
Very Unsafe
Blue Capital (BCRH), a reinsurance provider in the property catastrophe market, slashed its dividend by 50%. Several hurricanes and wildfires caused the firm to lose money, resulting in a steep dividend cut.
9
Very Unsafe
THL Credit (TCRD), a business development company, cut its dividend by 22%. The firm's payout ratio exceeded 100% as management's actions to reduce risk in THL's portfolio resulted in lower investment income.
2
Very Unsafe
Dean Foods Company (DFODQ) suspended its dividend.
1
Very Unsafe
Dean Foods (DF) suspended its dividend. The milk processor and dairy products manufacturer was losing money and had a dangerously high debt load. Suspending its dividend provided the company with more financial flexibility as it continued its turnaround plan. Shares of Dean Foods dropped 14% on the news.
4
Very Unsafe
Maiden Holdings, Ltd. (MHLD) suspended its dividend.
16
Very Unsafe
Summit Midstream Partners, LP (SMLP) slashed its distribution in half, sending its shares plunging as much as 20% on the news. The operator of midstream energy infrastructure assets needed to improve its ability to fund growth projects and maintain a healthier credit profile as it simplified its business structure.
8
Very Unsafe
Despite paying uninterrupted dividends for more than 20 consecutive years, Protective Insurance Corporation (PTVCA) cut its dividend by 64%. The property and casualty insurer incurred steep underwriting losses in its commercial auto line and desired to preserve capital in order to protect its investment grade credit rating.
0
Very Unsafe
Seritage Growth Properties (SRG), a retail REIT with substantial exposure to Sears, suspended its dividend. The move frees up cash to help management fund redevelopment efforts as Seritage works to continue reducing its exposure to Sears and improve its profitability.
44
Borderline
County Bancorp (ICBK), a micro-cap bank stock operating in Wisconsin, lowered its dividend by 29%. The firm had a payout ratio below 15% and reported solid growth in deposits, book value per share, and loans serviced. 

Small companies can have more dynamic capital allocation policies regardless of their current business fundamentals, so we do our best to treat them more conservatively.
41
Borderline
Kraft Heinz (KHC) cut its dividend by 36%. In November 2018, four months before the reduction was announced, we published a note warning of a possible dividend cut. 

We wrote, "given the company's somewhat high payout ratio and large amount of debt, if Kraft Heinz can't start delivering on its turnaround plan quickly (in 2019), then the risk of its frozen dividend being cut could increase. While the stock's current yield is certainly generous, conservative income investors may prefer to look at other companies with safer dividends, superior growth potential, and less hair from a heavy debt load and struggling turnaround effort."

The packaged food giant was struggling to achieve profitable growth due to changing consumer tastes and years of underinvestment in its brands. Management, led by private equity firm 3G Capital, desired to cut the dividend to accelerate the firm's pace of deleveraging in light of increasingly attractive opportunities they saw to make acquisitions and consolidate the industry. 

Given 3G Capital's ongoing struggles to create value from the 2015 Kraft-Heinz merger, investors were less than thrilled to hear management's excitement about making more large acquisitions. With investors losing confidence in Kraft Heinz's brands and 3G Capital's reputation as a savvy dealmaker, shares of KHC fell more than 25% on the news.
20
Very Unsafe
Less than four months after stunning investors with its first dividend cut in October 2018, Owens & Minor (OMI) slashed its dividend by 97%, sending its shares falling as much as 20%. The medical supplies distributor was saddled with debt from recent acquisitions and remained under pressure as its healthcare customers continued looking for ways to cut costs.
30
Unsafe
Fresh Del Monte Produce (FDP) suspended its dividend. After taking on debt for an acquisition and suffering a slide in profits, the global producer and distributor of fruit and vegetables violated certain covenants of its credit facility, which restricted payments of dividends unless certain ratios were met. FDP shares fell 17% on the news.
3
Very Unsafe
Harvest Capital Credit (HCAP), a business development company, lowered its monthly dividend by 16%. Management cited a "very competitive investment environment" which caused the firm's earnings to decline, pushing Harvest's payout ratio well above 100%.
40
Unsafe
Clearway Energy (CWEN), an energy infrastructure investment company with long-term contracted assets, reduced its dividend by 40% as uncertainty swirled around one of its largest customers, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). PG&E filed for bankruptcy, heightening the risk that it may not honor the power purchase agreements it has with Clearway. In such a scenario where project distributions are restricted, the firm's liquidity and leverage would take a hit. 

By cutting the dividend, Clearway could proactively maintain its balance sheet and capital allocation flexibility during this period of uncertainty. As more clarity is provided on the PG&E, management said they will reassess the dividend. For now, PG&E has neither assumed, rejected, or sought to renegotiate its contracts with Clearway.
31
Unsafe
Latin American airline Copa Holdings (CPA) lowered its dividend by 25%. Higher fuel prices along with economic and currency weakness in Brazil and Argentina hurt the company's profits, pushing its payout ratio too far above management's 40% target. Airlines are cyclical, capital-intensive businesses with high debt loads and volatile earnings, so their dividends can be less predictable.
3
Very Unsafe
CenturyLink (CTL), a regional telecom business, chopped its dividend by 54%. The firm was struggling to grow and had too much debt following years of costly acquisitions. Cutting the dividend provided the firm with more flexibility to reduce its leverage. CTL shares fell 10% on the news.
3
Very Unsafe
Medley Capital Corporation (MCC) cut its dividend by 50%. The business development company contended with poor investment performance, which had pushed its payout ratio well above 100%, and faced uncertainty regarding a proposed controversial merger which many shareholders opposed.
9
Very Unsafe
Unique Fabricating (UFAB) slashed its dividend by 67%. The manufacturer of foam and plastic components used in cars and appliances wanted to increase its financial flexibility so it could more aggressively reduce its debt.
44
Borderline
After rejecting a takeover offer and appointing a new CEO all in the last month, aerospace parts manufacturer Arconic (ARNC) decided to cut its dividend by 67% and split its company in two, with plans to eventually spin off one of the businesses. 

Management's sudden operational overhaul came despite the company recording double-digit organic sales and earnings growth in the quarter. Arconic also maintained a payout ratio below 20% at the time of its dividend cut and announced a new $500 million share buyback program.

In other words, Arconic's dividend cut was a capital allocation decision tied to management's new strategic plans for the company rather than unhealthy business fundamentals. Cuts like these are unusual but often difficult to get in front of.
15
Very Unsafe
Pitney Bowes (PBI) cut its dividend by 73%. The firm's earnings had eroded nearly 50% over the past decade as its mailing solutions business faced secular headwinds. While Pitney Bowes maintained a reasonable payout ratio near 60%, it also operated with substantial leverage. Management opted to cut the dividend to direct more capital towards growth initiatives as the business continued its turnaround.
34
Unsafe
Despite paying uninterrupted dividends for more than 20 years and maintaining an earnings payout ratio below 60%, Tupperware Brands (TUP) cut its dividend by 60%. The maker of food storage containers, cookware, and beauty products was struggling to achieve profitable growth as consumers opted for cheaper alternatives and e-commerce challenged its direct-sales model. Management wanted to free up more cash to fund the firm's turnaround initiatives. TUP shares tumbled more than 25% on the news.
65
Safe
Vale (VALE) suspended its dividend after one of its dams suddenly burst in Brazil, causing billions of dollars of damages and widespread tragedy with over 60 lives lost. The Wall Street Journal reported that this was "the most deadly mining incident of its kind in more than 50 years."

Vale's business was actually in good financial shape before disaster struck. The firm's net debt was at its lowest level since 2009, its payout ratio sat below 30%, there were no major debt maturities through 2021, cash on hand exceeded $6 billion, and earnings were expected to grow at a double-digit pace next year. Moody's had even upgraded Vale's credit rating to Baa3 (investment grade) in July 2018.

However, with a major liability forming overnight, plus severe public outrage at the company (Vale wisely suspended executive bonuses as well), the firm's decision was a prudent one. Given the unforecastable nature of an event of this magnitude, coupled with Vale's otherwise solid financial health, we were unable to get in front of this dividend cut. 

We already use a separate scoring template for mining companies to conservatively account for their cyclical and capital-intensive operations, but there were no warning signs in this situation (a German safety certifier had even found the mine to be stable in September). Going forward, we will consider placing even more weight on a miner's long-term dividend track record to gauge how conservative its operations have historically been managed.

Fortunately, the vast majority of dividend cuts can be spotted in advance since they are not triggered by a single high-impact, low-probability event. Unlike Vale, dividend cutters often possess some combination of a dangerously high payout ratio, falling earnings, and too much debt; their financial health does not materially change overnight.
4
Very Unsafe
Dynagas LNG Partners LP (DLNG) reduced its distribution by 75% less than a year after management first cut the payout by 41%. The owner and operator of LNG carriers said it needed to retain more cash flow as it approached a significant debt maturity later this year, suggesting its refinancing efforts weren't going well. DLNG's stock plunged nearly 30% on the news.
18
Very Unsafe
Seadrill Partners (SDLP) cut its dividend by 90%. The provider of offshore contract drilling services experienced a decline in cash flow as dayrates remained weak, and the firm needed to preserve liquidity ahead of upcoming debt maturities.
10
Very Unsafe
CSI Compressco LP (CCLP), a provider of compression services and equipment for natural gas and oil producers, slashed its distribution by 95%. The firm's distribution had consumed all of its distributable cash flow over the past year, and its leverage was too high. Cutting the distribution frees up cash flow that management will use to redeem CSI Compressco's preferred units, which were significantly diluting common unit holders.
26
Unsafe
Crescent Point Energy Group (CPG) chopped its dividend by 89% due to the significant decline in the price of oil. The Canadian oil producer's payout ratio sat near 100%, its debt load was high, and management desired more financial flexibility.
0
Very Unsafe
Sage Stores (SSI) suspended its dividend. The department store retailer was losing money and decided to convert more of its locations to the off-price model, which is having more success. Eliminating the dividend was necessary to free up more cash for this strategy initiative, especially given the company’s significant financial leverage.
2
Very Unsafe
Nabors Industries (NBR), a provider of drilling services and technologies for oil and gas wells, slashed its dividend by 83%. With the price of oil significantly declining, Nabors was losing money and needed to free up more cash to reduce its debt load.
29
Unsafe
Teekay Offshore Partners L.P. (TOO) suspended its distribution. The marine energy transportation company desired to conserve more of its internally generated cash flows to reinvest in the business and reduce financial leverage.
19
Very Unsafe
Hi-Crush Partners LP (HCLP) suspended its distribution. The frac sand producer was challenged by soft market conditions as energy companies completed fewer wells, and management desired to protect the company's balance sheet. HCLP shares tumbled more than 15% on the news.
4
Very Unsafe
As a mortgage REIT, Anworth Mortgage (ANH) generates income primarily based on the difference between the yield on its long-term mortgage assets and the cost of its short-term borrowings. The flattening yield curve pressured the firm's earnings and kept its payout ratio above 100%, so Anworth reduced its dividend by 7%.
2
Very Unsafe
Capstead Mortgage's (CMO) earnings remained under pressure due to the flattening yield curve, which reduces the income generated by the adjustable-rate mortgage securities it invests in. With a payout ratio in excess of 100%, the mortgage REIT lowered its dividend by 27%.
1
Very Unsafe
AltaGas (ATGFF) cut its dividend by 56%. The owner of regulated utilities and midstream assets needed to direct more cash flow towards deleveraging efforts after taking on significant debt to acquire a natural gas utility for $9 billion. With midstream stock prices in a bear market, issuing equity was no longer a viable financing plan for the firm.
2
Very Unsafe
Communications Systems (JCS), a provider of connectivity products for broadband and voice communications, cut its dividend by 50%. The money-losing firm needed to restructure its operations and direct more capital to its best growth opportunities.
2
Very Unsafe
Ellington Residential Mortgage REIT (EARN) lowered its dividend by 8% in response to a flattening yield curve, which reduced its portfolio value, net interest margin, and core earnings. With a payout ratio above 100% and use of meaningful leverage, reducing its dividend was necessary.
1
Very Unsafe
Aceto (ACET) suspended its dividend. The chemical compounds manufacturer was hurt by a prolonged down cycle in the generic drug industry and was saddled with debt. Just two months after suspending its dividend, Aceto shocked many investors by filing for bankruptcy, sending its stock falling by more than 60%.
19
Very Unsafe
Capital Product Partners L.P. (CPLP) effectively cut its distribution by 43%. The owner of tanker, container, and drybulk vessels reduced its payout after deciding to spin off its crude and product tanker business, which reduced its cash flow. Although unitholders received a stake in the new spin-off, its weak profitability prevented it from paying a distribution.
9
Very Unsafe
Highway Holdings (HIHO) chopped its dividend by 50%. The industrial parts and components supplier had a payout ratio above 100% and was challenged by a double-digit drop in revenue as a large customer pulled back on orders.
35
Unsafe
Ferroglobe PLC (GSM) suspended its dividend. The silicon and specialty metal producer operates in a cyclical industry and saw its near-term outlook worsen, leading management to eliminate its dividend in order to save cash and deleverage its balance sheet.
9
Very Unsafe
Plagued by weak growth, declining profitability, and too much debt, mall-based retailer L Brands (LB) cut its dividend by 50% to free up more cash for deleveraging. L Brands had paid dividends without reduction for more than 25 consecutive years, and its stock price plunged 18% on the news.
22
Unsafe
Hugoton Royalty Trust (HGTXU) suspended its dividend.
45
Borderline
Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEP) suspended its dividend.
23
Unsafe
Despite sporting a payout ratio below 30% and growing its quarterly revenue, Adient (ADNT) suspended its dividend. The automobile seat manufacturer was spun off from Johnson Controls (JCI) in 2016 and desired to improve its cash flow available for debt reduction.
13
Very Unsafe
Dean Foods (DF) cut its dividend by 67%. The milk processor and dairy products manufacturer was losing money and had a dangerously high debt load. Reducing its payout provided the company with more financial flexibility as it continued its turnaround plan.
3
Very Unsafe
Garrison Capital (GARS), a business development company, reduced its dividend by 18%. The firm's payout ratio had exceeded 100% due to a decline in earnings caused by lower fee income and an unrealized loss on one of its investments.
13
Very Unsafe
After paying uninterrupted distributions for more than 30 consecutive years, Buckeye Partners, L.P. (BPL) cut its distribution by 41%. The pipeline and storage terminal operator was challenged by weak oil market fundamentals.

As a result, the firm contended with an unsustainable payout ratio above 100%, needed to free up cash for debt reduction to protect its credit rating, and, with its stock price in the dumps, wanted to eliminate its need to access the public equity markets to fund annual growth capital.
0
Very Unsafe
Digirad (DRAD) eliminated its dividend in favor of using the money on share repurchases instead. The provider of diagnostic healthcare services was losing money so its stock price was in the dumps. 
17
Very Unsafe
Owens & Minor (OMI) cut its dividend by 71%, sending its stock price tumbling more than 40%. The medical supplies distributor had paid uninterrupted dividends since 1977, but its core customers (hospitals) were putting increased price pressure on the firm in an effort to cut costs. 

As growth in its legacy business struggled, management responded by making two large acquisitions in faster-growing segments, straining Owens & Minor's balance sheet and liquidity. The substantial dividend cut gives the company more breathing room to service its significant debt load while continuing to adapt its business model for the future.
10
Very Unsafe
General Electric (GE) axed its dividend for the second time in less than a year, this time reducing its payout by 92%. With power markets remaining weak and the company dealing with a very heavy debt load, GE needed to free up more cash to improve its balance sheet and give its turnaround efforts some breathing room.
0
Very Unsafe
Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV) chopped its dividend by 67% as the retailer of athletic shoes, apparel, and equipment couldn't sustain its payout ratio above 100% and needed to pay down debt as sales declined.  
24
Unsafe
CBL Properties (CBL) slashed its dividend by 63%. Declining occupancy and a very heavy debt load put pressure on the mall REIT to preserve liquidity and increase its financial flexibility.
5
Very Unsafe
Nam Tai Property (NTP) suspended its dividend.
50
Borderline
Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) reduced its dividend by 50% as management wanted to speed up debt repayments following the firm's $100-billion-plus acquisition of SABMiller in 2016. 

BUD's dividend cut involved some discretion since the firm's free cash flow more than covered its dividend, sales and earnings were growing, and the beverage maker was not facing any liquidity issues.

In fact, management stated that from a liquidity standpoint "there is no pressure whatsoever" and that the company's nicely balanced debt maturities were "no big issue." 

These situations are rather unusual and can be hard to evaluate. On paper, the dividend seemed like it could have been sustained. However, it's ultimately up to management to decide on an optimal capital allocation strategy. In BUD's case, that meant taking action to accelerate the deleveraging process.
11
Very Unsafe
Manning & Napier (MN) cut its dividend by 75%. The investment manager was struggling with a decline in assets under management and had an unsustainable payout ratio above 100%. Reducing the dividend provided the firm with more breathing room as it worked to restructure its core business. 
6
Very Unsafe
Golar LNG Partners LP (GMLP) reduced its distribution by 30% after weak conditions in the shipping market stretched its balance sheet and pushed its payout ratio well above 100%.
19
Very Unsafe
After nearly tripling its quarterly distribution in July 2018, just three months later Hi-Crush Partners LP (HCLP) chopped its distribution by 70%. The frac sand producer was challenged by soft market conditions and also wanted to lower its payout ratio as it converted from a partnership to a corporation.
13
Very Unsafe
Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. (FGP) suspended its distribution. The propane distributor was saddled with debt following a failed effort to diversify its business into the midstream sector. Ferrellgas violated its bond covenants which prevented the firm from paying distributions.  
5
Very Unsafe
Government Properties Income Trust (GOV) slashed its dividend by 68%, sending the office REIT's stock price tumbling 25% on the news. Government Properties was challenged by an unsustainable payout ratio above 100%, too much leverage, high tenant concentration, and significant near term lease expirations. 

Cutting the dividend reduced the firm's payout ratio to management's target level of 75% and provided more financial flexibility as Government Properties pursued plans to merge with Select Income REIT (SIR).
4
Very Unsafe
Capstead Mortgage (CMO) continued to face interest rate headwinds and see its portfolio value decline, forcing the mortgage REIT to cut its dividend by 21% — the firm's third dividend cut this year.
10
Very Unsafe
The financially distressed shopping center REIT DDR Corp (DDR) reduced its dividend by 47% following the spin-off of its lower quality properties. Shareholders received shares in the newly formed company, RVI, but it's unclear whether RVI will pay a regular distribution, especially given the company's plans to sell off all assets within 5 years.
35
Unsafe
Lexington Realty Trust (LXP) cut its dividend by 42% in February 2019, but management first communicated a dividend reduction was coming in September 2018. The REIT decided to divest most of its office properties, reducing its cash flow generation, and used proceeds to reduce debt and acquire more industrial properties. 
21
Unsafe
Spirit Realty Capital (SRC) effectively lowered its dividend by 12% following its spin-off of Spirit MTA (SMTA). Including the shares investors were given in SMTA, annual dividends per share fell from 72 cents to 63.2 cents. The retail REIT opted to target a lower payout ratio near 75%, which is more in line with its peers. 
16
Very Unsafe
Orchid Island Capital (ORC) lowered its monthly dividend by 11% as interest rate volatility hurt the mortgage REIT's profitability.
9
Very Unsafe
Maiden Holdings (MHLD), a specialty reinsurance company, reduced its dividend by 67% as the firm struggled with underwriting losses.
1
Very Unsafe
New Senior Investment Group (SNR) cut its dividend by 50% due to the senior housing REIT's unsustainable payout ratio and substantial debt load. 
2
Very Unsafe
Farmland Partners (FPI) lowered its dividend by 61%. The farmland REIT's cash flow did not cover its dividend, and falling crop prices remained a challenge.
15
Very Unsafe
R.R. Donnelley & Sons (RRD) cut its dividend by 79% in order to use more cash flow for improving its heavily indebted balance sheet. The integrated communications company was struggling as commercial print sales remained weak. 
20
Very Unsafe
SCANA (SCG) slashed its dividend by 80% to preserve cash. The utility is seeking a resolution with regulators to recover costs for its failed $7.7 billion nuclear construction project. Shareholders, rather than utility ratepayers, will likely be on the hook for a substantial amount of the project's loss.
24
Unsafe
Corus Entertainment (CJREF) slashed its dividend by 79% to conserve more cash for debt reduction. The television and radio company's advertising revenue was under pressure, driven by the continued rise of digital marketing channels and over-the-top streaming services. The firm's shares plunged 18% to reach an all-time low.
8
Very Unsafe
Himax Technologies (HIMX) reduced its annual dividend by 57% due to weak results in its cyclical semiconductor business, as well as the firm’s need to ramp up spending to expand its manufacturing capacity. 
8
Very Unsafe
Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation (ANH), a mortgage REIT, moved its dividend lower by 7% due to its high payout ratio and interest rate volatility that lowered the value of its investment portfolio.
6
Very Unsafe
Capstead Mortgage (CMO) saw its portfolio value decline and borrowing costs rise as interest rates fluctuated, forcing the mortgage REIT to cut its dividend by 13%.
12
Very Unsafe
Arlington Investment Corp (AI) reduced its dividend by 32%. Rising interest rates reduced the value of its mortgage-related investments, and the firm maintains a high payout ratio and substantial financial leverage. 
6
Very Unsafe
ClearOne (CLRO) eliminated its dividend. The developer of conferencing and collaboration communications solutions saw its revenue slump nearly 40% and reported a loss as a competitor infringing on its patents hurt adoption of one of its new platforms. To preserve cash, management suspended the dividend. Shares tumbled more than 15%.
3
Very Unsafe
Libbey (LBY) suspended its dividend in order to increase the glass manufacturer’s focus on debt reduction. 
0
Very Unsafe
Nordic American Offshore (NAO) dropped its dividend by 50% as the offshore oil & gas shipping market remained weak, keeping pressure on the capital intensive and unprofitable vessel company. 
22
Unsafe
Blueknight Energy Partners, L.P. (BKEP) cut its distribution by 45% as the provider of midstream energy services struggled with a coverage ratio below 1.0x, a weak crude oil storage market, and too much debt.
8
Very Unsafe
CrossAmerica Partners (CAPL) reduced its distribution by 16%. The motor fuels distributor had significant financial leverage and owed its general partner meaningful management fees. With the MLP market remaining weak, making issuing equity very dilutive, and the partnership’s payout ratio elevated, cutting the distribution freed up more internally generated cash flow for the business to use.
25
Unsafe
Aceto (ACET) slashed its dividend by 85% in response to the continued down cycle in the generics drug industry and the pressure it put on the company’s high debt load. 
30
Unsafe
TC Pipelines, LP (TCP) was adversely affected by a change in MLP regulations. The company needed to deleverage to prepare for lower future cash flow, and cutting its distribution by 35% was part of the solution. 
24
Unsafe
Diebold Nixdorf, Incorporated (DBD) suspended its dividend.
0
Very Unsafe
Nordic American Tankers (NAT) slashed its dividend by 67% as a weak tanker market caused the indebted vessel company to operate at a loss.  
23
Unsafe
SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. (SXCP) reduced its distribution by 33% in order to help the company further pay down debt and maintain some cushion for its credit facility’s leverage covenant. 
4
Very Unsafe
Dynagas LNG Partners LP (DLNG) cut its distribution by 41% following a strategic review of the business. Management desired to improve the energy MLP's coverage ratio and strengthen its balance sheet after a drop in charter rates caused operating cash flow to decline.
0
Very Unsafe
Pier 1 Imports (PIR) suspended its dividend. The retailer of decorative accessories, furniture, candles, and housewares was saddled with debt, had an unsustainable payout ratio above 100%, and was experiencing sharp sales and earnings declines. Discontinuing the dividend freed up cash to help the distressed company's turnaround efforts.
7
Very Unsafe
Franklin Street Properties (FSP) reduced its dividend for the first time since 2008, announcing a 53% cut as the REIT transitions its property portfolio from a suburban to an urban orientation which results in higher leasing costs per square foot.
26
Unsafe
LaSalle Hotel Properties (LHO), a hotel REIT, cut its dividend by 50%. The firm saw revenue per available room decline in 2017 and expected another dip in 2018 as supply growth in many of its markets pressured the REIT's cash flow. 
15
Very Unsafe
Navios Maritime Midstream Partners L.P. (NAP) owns and operates tanker vessels. The company chopped its dividend by 70% in response to challenging market conditions and its need to maintain a healthy balance sheet. 
10
Very Unsafe
Five Oaks Investment Corp (OAK) dropped its dividend by 40% as a flattening yield curve hurt the mortgage REIT’s investment income. These businesses maintain high payout ratios and use significant financial leverage, so there is little margin for error. 
6
Very Unsafe
Capstead Mortgage (CMO) cut its dividend by 16% as shorter term interest rates increased at a faster pace than longer term interest rates, pushing down the value of the REIT’s mortgage-related investments.
11
Very Unsafe
Alcentra Capital (ABDC) is a business development company that cut its dividend by 28% due to underperforming credit investments and yield compression. 
7
Very Unsafe
National CineMedia (NCMI) announced a 23% dividend cut as its profits fell and the heavily indebted cinema advertising company needed more cash to reinvest in its business as it combats declining movie theater traffic.
26
Unsafe
IDT (IDT) swung to a loss and decided to invest more heavily in its growth initiatives, leading the telecom business to cut its dividend by 53%
8
Very Unsafe
CYS Investments (CYS) reduced its dividend by 12% after the mortgage REIT was challenged by falling investment income. 
3
Very Unsafe
A year after reducing its dividend by 19% to conserve cash, Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust (WHLR) eliminated its dividend entirely in order to further improve the Retail REIT's weak balance sheet.
20
Very Unsafe
Colony NorthStar (CLNS) cut its dividend by 59%, sending its shares tumbling more than 20%. The REIT was challenged by negative headwinds in healthcare and across its retail broker-dealer distribution business. Combined with a dangerously high amount of debt, Colony NorthStar opted to cut its dividend to prioritize deleveraging and improve its financial flexibility.
56
Borderline
Circor (CIR) suspended its dividend after completing a transformative acquisition which doubled the size of its business. The engineered products manufacturer maintained a payout ratio near 10% and wasn’t owned by many investors for its dividend. Management wanted to pay down debt from the acquisition as quickly as possible, leading to the decision.
1
Very Unsafe
Frontier Communications (FTR) eliminated its dividend to save cash since the telecom company was losing money and on the path towards bankruptcy. 
79
Safe
MercadoLibre (MELI), the largest online commerce ecosystem in Latin America, decided to eliminate its dividend in favor of using all of its cash internally for growth. This dividend cut was difficult to catch in advance for several reasons.

Specifically, MercadoLibre reported 71% sales growth the quarter it announced its dividend suspension, its free cash flow payout ratio was below 15%, the company had no debt, and its cash totaled nearly $600 million compared to annual dividend commitments of approximately $27 million. 

Simply put, management's decision to stop the dividend was not due to the firm's financial health, but rather a change in capital allocation policy to take advantage of growth opportunities. Here was the company's statement: 

"After reviewing our capital allocation process the Board of Directors has concluded that the Company has multiple investment opportunities that should generate greater returns to shareholders through investing capital into the business than issuing a dividend. Consequently, the decision has been made to suspend the payment of dividend to shareholders as of the first quarter of 2018, as it will free up capital for investment in multiple projects in our various platforms."

There's no easy way to get in front of these situations that involve so much management discretion, but fortunately they are very rare. Sticking with companies that have longer histories of paying stable dividends can help, and that is one of the factors our Dividend Safety Score system reviews.

MercadoLibre's dividend was quite small (MELI's dividend yield was less than 0.2%), and its stock price was largely unchanged on the news (and up over 80% in the year leading up to the cut). In other words, not only were few investors likely to have owned this stock for income in the first place, but any who did could have moved on to another idea without incurring a capital loss.
20
Very Unsafe
Macquarie Infrastructure Company (MIC), the fuel storage infrastructure specialist, dropped its dividend by 31%, sending its stock price tumbling more than 40%. The dividend cut will conserve cash to help the highly leveraged MLP preserve its credit rating and invest in growth projects after failing to renew some oil client contracts.
4
Very Unsafe
Dine Brands Global (DIN) chopped its dividend by 35% as its Applebee's and IHOP restaurant chains struggled and the company maintained a very high debt load.
17
Very Unsafe
Oaktree Strategic Income (OCSI) was challenged by volatile investment income and a high payout ratio, forcing the business development company to reduce its dividend by 26%.
8
Very Unsafe
NuStar Energy L.P. (NS) plunged as much as 21% on news that the pipeline operator was cutting its distribution by 45%. Costly acquisitions, hurricane damage, excessive financial leverage, and a need to free up more cash for investments were all factors. 
9
Very Unsafe
Harvest Capital Credit (HCAP) reduced its dividend by 16% after experiencing a significant drop in investment income. Shortly after, the firm delayed filing its annual report, underscoring the risks, complexities, and challenges of investing in many business development companies. 
15
Very Unsafe
NuStar GP Holdings, LLC (NSH) cut its distribution by 40% as the indebted MLP struggled to cover its payout and no longer had affordable access to external financing.
15
Very Unsafe
Oaktree Specialty Lending (OCSL) cut its dividend by 32% due to a decline in the business development company's investment income.   
12
Very Unsafe
Collectors Universe (CLCT) lowered its dividend by 50% in response to a challenging quarter, an unsustainable payout ratio, and a need for the collectibles authenticator to redirect more cash toward growth opportunities. 
0
Very Unsafe
Navios Maritime Acquisition (NNA), an owner and operator of tanker vessels, cut its dividend by 60% to preserve cash as the business struggled with too much debt and weak end market conditions. 
28
Unsafe
Nevsun Resources (NSU) suspended its dividend. The base metals mining and exploration company desired to free up more cash to fund large development projects as it combatted operating losses and production challenges. 
13
Very Unsafe
Five Oaks Investment Corp (OAKS) slashed its dividend by 33% as a flattening yield curve hurt the mortgage REIT's investment income.
1
Very Unsafe
Bluerock Residential (BRG) announced a 44% reduction to its dividend driven by the apartment REIT's decision to internalize its external management structure and implement a more sustainable payout ratio. 
91
Very Safe
PG&E (PCG) suspended its dividend. Wildfires were causing extensive damage throughout California, and regulated utility PG&E was under investigation to see if it caused some of the fires. If so, the company would face a large liability. Per The Wall Street Journal, California’s legal framework renders utilities liable for damages from wildfires started by their equipment, even if they weren’t negligent.

PG&E decided to preserve cash by temporarily suspending its dividend until more is known about the ongoing situation. We are not sure much could have been done to get in front of this one. This was a rather binary outcome that seemed to have a low probability at the time and couldn’t be traced in PG&E’s financial statements, which were otherwise in decent shape, or identified in analysts' earnings estimates for the year ahead, which were healthy.
44
Borderline
Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA) suspended its dividend entirely and was a great example of the dangers of debt. Prior to its dividend cut, Teva maintained a payout ratio below 30%, had paid uninterrupted dividends for more than 20 years, and was generating solid cash flow.

However, the company's debt spiked following its $40.5 billion acquisition of Actavis Generics in 2016. As generic drug prices came under pressure, Teva's urgency to conserve cash flow to service its debt load increased, ultimately resulting in two dividend cuts.

We have since added a new debt metric to our scoring system to better identify situations like Teva's, and we now also make use of forward-looking analyst estimates to spot companies with fundamentals that are more likely to continue deteriorating.
5
Very Unsafe
KCAP Financial (KCAP) was forced to lower its dividend by 17% due to a fall in its net investment income, which commonly causes issues for business development companies given their very high payout ratios.
13
Very Unsafe
Ellington Residential Mortgage REIT (EARN) reduced its dividend by 8% in response to a flattening yield curve, which reduced its net interest margin and core earnings. 
0
Very Unsafe
Fred’s (FRED) suspended its dividend. The regional discount chain faced a difficult competitive environment and couldn’t stem its operating losses. Coupled with a dangerously high amount of debt, Fred was forced to end its dividend.
39
Unsafe
WisdomTree Investments (WETF) cut its dividend by 63%. ETF sponsors such as WisdomTree were under pressure to consolidate to keep their costs low. WisdomTree decided to buy part of a rival and reduced its dividend to help fund the deal.
18
Very Unsafe
General Electric (GE) cut its dividend by 50% to better align its payout with the firm's declining cash flow, preserve cash in light of its high financial leverage, and adjust its capital allocation framework under its new CEO. 
6
Very Unsafe
FS Investment Corporation (FSIC) lowered its dividend by 15%. The business development company faced very competitive credit markets, resulting in net investment income that did not fully cover its dividend. As a result, management reducing the payout to a more sustainable level.
11
Very Unsafe
CECO Environmental (CECE) eliminated its dividend. The provider of industrial air quality and fluid handling systems was challenged by weakness in energy markets, resulting in a double-digit decline in revenue and earnings. Although CECE’s payout ratio remained below 100%, management suspended the dividend as part of a sweeping restructuring plan to turn the business around and provide more financial flexibility.
25
Unsafe
Cameco (CCJ) slashed its dividend by 80% as depressed uranium prices eroded the energy producer's profits, pushing its payout ratio above 200%. The company had paid uninterrupted dividends for more than 20 years prior to the cut.
44
Borderline
EVERTEC (EVTC) is a small-cap transaction processing business with operations centered in Latin America. Despite having a payout ratio near 20% at the time, management decided to temporarily suspend the firm's dividend due to unstable and uncertain operating conditions in Puerto Rico. 

Interestingly, EVTC's stock price subsequently rallied more than 50%, and in September 2018 the company began paying dividends (albeit at half the previous payout amount). Regardless, our scoring system now handles smaller companies more conservatively, reflecting their generally more concentrated business activities and more dynamic capital allocation policies.
1
Very Unsafe
RAIT Financial Trust (RAS) suspended its dividend. The provider of debt financing to commercial real estate owners was losing money and needed to reduce its leverage. Shares fell more than 10% on the news.
18
Very Unsafe
CBL & Associates Properties (CBL) cut its dividend by 25% as the REIT had too much debt and declining funds from operations.
8
Very Unsafe
Alcentra Capital Corporation (ABDC) dropped its dividend by 27%. Underperforming investments and a high payout ratio led to the business development company's dividend reduction.
5
Very Unsafe
Franks International (FI) suspended its dividend. The provider of engineered tubular services for oil and gas producers was losing money following the crash in energy prices and wanted to preserve its liquidity for future investments.
5
Very Unsafe
Ellington Financial (EFC) cut its dividend by 9% in order to free up additional capital for new investments. 
12
Very Unsafe
Mosaic (MOS) cut its dividend by 83%. The phosphate and potash producer contended with weak fertilizer market conditions and wanted to free up cash it could use to reach its target leverage ratio faster.
16
Very Unsafe
Rent-A-Center (RCII) suspended its dividend. The lessor of durable goods, such as appliances and electronics, on a rent-to-own basis was losing money and experiencing same-store sales declines. Eliminating the dividend provided the company with more flexibility for its turnaround plans.
7
Very Unsafe
Westmoreland Resource Partners, LP (WMLP) eliminated its distribution. The thermal coal producer was challenged by weak market conditions and had too much debt. The partnership had to suspend distributions after its leverage ratio exceeded the limit allowed in its debt agreements, and the firm would declare bankruptcy one year later.
13
Very Unsafe
Concurrent (CCUR) suspended its dividend. Management desired to preserve the real estate and cash advance company’s liquidity while evaluating potential acquisition targets and alternative uses of the firm’s remaining assets following a series of business dispositions.
1
Very Unsafe
Toymaker Mattel (MAT) suspended its dividend after being hurt by its large customer Toys 'R' Us filing for bankruptcy. Mattel needed to strengthen its balance sheet and improve its financial flexibility to turn around its faltering business.
14
Very Unsafe
Suburban Propane Partners (SPH) ran into trouble as two consecutive warm winters reduced demand for its propane and further stretched its weak balance sheet, causing the firm to reduce its dividend by 32%.
12
Very Unsafe
Waddell & Reed Financial (WDR) slashed its dividend by 46% as the investment manager continued experiencing asset outflows that pushed its payout ratio near 90%.
20
Very Unsafe
Oceaneering International (OII) suspended its dividend. The provider of engineered services and products to the offshore energy market was challenged by very weak pricing conditions in the oil market and wanted to free up more cash for opportunities.
20
Very Unsafe
MidSouth Bancorp (MSL) cut its dividend by 89%. Energy loans accounted for more than 20% of the bank’s total loan portfolio. Weak oil prices resulted in numerous problem loans, pressuring earnings and ultimately impairing the bank’s ability to maintain its dividend. 
14
Very Unsafe
Greenhill & Co. (GHL) slashed its dividend by 89%. The boutique investment bank saw its revenue slump more than 30% as it advised on fewer M&A deals and struggled to compete with other advisers. Management needed to redirect more cash flow to debt repayment, necessitating the dividend cut.
22
Unsafe
Genesis Energy, LP (GEL) needed to strengthen its balance sheet in order to continue having access to affordable capital for its growth projects, forcing the midstream energy MLP to chop its distribution by 31%
6
Very Unsafe
National American University (NAUH) eliminated its dividend entirely as the accredited institution of higher learning was in desperate need to preserve liquidity given its operational struggles, large debt burden, and spiking payout ratio. 
51
Borderline
ATN International (ATNI), a small-cap telecom company, had increased its dividend for 20 consecutive years. Despite its healthy payout ratio and sub-3% yield, management decided to "strategically shift" the firm's capital allocation by reducing the firm’s dividend by 50% in favor of using the capital to invest more in growth opportunities. 

There is not an easy way to get in front of a shift like this when a firm's underlying fundamentals are solid, but we rate small-cap stocks more conservatively today since they can have more dynamic capital allocation policies over time.
11
Very Unsafe
Capstead Mortgage (CMO) lowered its dividend by 10% as net interest margins declined due to higher mortgage prepayment levels and higher borrowing costs, which pressured the mortgage REIT’s high payout ratio. 
2
Very Unsafe
Frontline (FRO) eliminated its dividend. The shipping company provides seaborne transportation of oil and was hurt by prolonged weakness in oil prices. As a result of soft shipping rates and too much industry supply, Frontline was losing money and opted not to resume paying dividends until it earned a profit.
3
Very Unsafe
Ship Finance International (SFL) cut its dividend by 22% due to the soft tanker market and the company’s dangerously high debt load. 
11
Very Unsafe
Prospect Capital (PSEC) reduced its dividend by 28%. The business development company’s net investment income declined due to the firm’s desire to avoid riskier investments and reduce originations.
19
Very Unsafe
Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. (PAA) needed to reduce debt to reach its targeted credit markets and lessen its dependence on raising growth capital via issuing equity. As a result, the midstream MLP slashed its distribution by 46%
23
Unsafe
Plains GP Holdings LP (PAGP) needed to reduce debt to reach its targeted credit markets and lessen its dependence on raising growth capital via issuing equity. As a result, the midstream MLP slashed its distribution by 46%
39
Unsafe
Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CBI) completely eliminated its dividend despite maintaining a low payout ratio, sending its stock down over 25% on the news. The engineering and construction company was saddled with debt and dealing with depressed business results. 
10
Very Unsafe
Black Box (BBOX) suspended its dividend, sending its shares falling more than 40%. The IT infrastructure provider was saddled with debt and losing money, forcing it to amend its credit agreement. Stopping dividend payments freed up cash to help improve the company's financial health.
2
Very Unsafe
RAIT Financial Trust (RAS) chopped its dividend by 44% as management stepped up efforts to lower financial leverage and refocus the business on its core commercial real estate lending operations. 
0
Very Unsafe
Windstream Holdings (WIN) saw its stock price plunge nearly 30% after it announced it was eliminating its dividend. The indebted telecom company was losing customers, needed to de-lever, and faced large expenditures to build out its fiber network.
3
Very Unsafe
Teekay Offshore Partners L.P. (TOO), a marine energy transportation company, cut its distribution by 91% due to too much debt, falling distributable cash flow, and weak end market conditions.
1
Very Unsafe
Bristow Group (BRS) cut its dividend by 79% after a severe cyclical downturn in the offshore energy market caused the helicopter services business to operate at a loss. 
44
Borderline
Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA) cut its dividend by 75% and was a great example of the dangers of debt. Prior to its dividend cut, Teva maintained a payout ratio below 30%, had paid uninterrupted dividends for more than 20 years, and was generating solid cash flow.

However, the company's debt spiked following its $40.5 billion acquisition of Actavis Generics in 2016. As generic drug prices came under pressure, Teva's urgency to conserve cash flow to service its debt load increased, ultimately resulting in two dividend cuts (management suspended the dividend in December 2017).

We have since added a new debt metric to our scoring system to better identify situations like Teva's, and we now also make use of forward-looking analyst estimates to spot companies with fundamentals that are more likely to continue deteriorating.
0
Very Unsafe
Nordic American Tankers (NAT) slashed its dividend by 25% due to the capital-intensive shipping company’s declining cash flow and weak balance sheet.
12
Very Unsafe
Arlington Asset Investment Corp (AI) lowered its dividend by 12% to strengthen the investment firm’s balance sheet and better protect itself from instability in the mortgage sector.
2
Very Unsafe
Mattel (MAT) cut its dividend by 61% due to its unsustainable payout ratio, high debt load, and need to reinvest for growth as its iconic toy brands, such as Barbie, struggled in an increasingly digital world. 
4
Very Unsafe
Ampco-Pittsburgh Corporation (AP), an engineering products business, suspended its dividend entirely to put the funds towards debt repayment and growth initiatives to turn the unprofitable company around.
6
Very Unsafe
CIM Commercial Trust (CMCT), an office REIT, reduced its dividend by 43% as its payout ratio was too high after divesting various properties. 
2
Very Unsafe
Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust (WHLR) slashed its dividend by 19% to conserve cash due to the retail REIT’s heavy debt load. 
0
Very Unsafe
Stage Stores (SSI) announced a 67% reduction to its dividend in response to a weak retail environment and the firm’s need to strengthen its balance sheet.
55
Borderline
Tegna (TGNA) cut its dividend in half. The owner of TV and radio stations in 2017 spun off Cars.com, which does not pay dividends, and implemented a new capital structure and capital return policy going forward. Proceeds from the spinoff were used to help reduce the company’s high debt load.
0
Very Unsafe
Stein Mart (SMRT) responded to a weak retail environment, its heavy debt load, and declining earnings by eliminating its dividend entirely.
11
Very Unsafe
Time Inc. (TIME) chopped its dividend by 79% due to a severe decline in print advertising revenue and the company’s substantial amount of debt. Shares plunged 17% on the news.
6
Very Unsafe
Nature’s Sunshine Products (NATR) eliminated its dividend. Although the nutritional and personal care products manufacturer reported growth in revenue and net income and maintained a reasonable balance sheet, management wanted to free up more capital to fund the firm’s expansion in China.
9
Very Unsafe
Medley Capital (MCC) was forced to lower its dividend by 27% as a result of the business development company’s decreasing net investment income and high payout ratio.
5
Very Unsafe
Frontier Communications (FTR), a telecom services provider, announced a 62% cut to its dividend after struggling with customer losses and too much financial leverage.
33
Unsafe
Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. (EEP) was challenged by weak commodity markets, heavy debt, and a need to internally fund more of its growth projects. As a result, the midstream energy MLP decreased its distribution by 40%.
13
Very Unsafe
Enbridge Energy Management, LLC (EEQ) chopped its dividend by 40% in order to strengthen its balance sheet and maintain a more sustainable coverage ratio. The energy company’s cash flow was hurt from weak commodity markets.
4
Very Unsafe
CSI Compressco LP (CCLP) suffered from high debt and weak energy prices. As a result, the natural gas company reduced its dividend by 50%.
46
Borderline
Superior Industries (SUP), a small-cap vehicle wheel manufacturer, cut its dividend by 50%. The firm announced a transformative acquisition to nearly double in size. Due to its higher cost of financing as a smaller company, management reduced the dividend to help afford the deal. 

Superior Industries had paid uninterrupted dividends for more than 20 years prior to this event, so the cut was a surprise that could not have been predicted ahead of time without knowing the firm's intentions to make a big acquisition. We treat smaller firms more conservatively today to recognize their generally more dynamic capital allocation policies.
3
Very Unsafe
Dynex Capital (DX) slashed its dividend by 14% when the mortgage REIT was faced with higher interest rates, rising financing costs, and an unsustainable payout ratio.
2
Very Unsafe
New York Mortgage Trust (NYMT) experienced financial difficulties resulting in a dividend reduction of 17% when financial and bond markets became more volatile.
7
Very Unsafe
Capstead Mortgage (CMO) struggled after portfolio yields did not improve as management had expected. As a result, the mortgage REIT cut its dividend by 9%.
0
Very Unsafe
OHA Investment Corporation’s (OHAI) portfolio invested too much in weak energy companies, hurting its profitability. In order to help the highly leveraged business development company recover, its dividend was lowered by 67%.
4
Very Unsafe
Cypress Energy Partners, L.P. (CELP) is a pipeline services provider to the energy industry. In order to conserve cash due to its heavy debt load and softening commodity prices, the company chopped its distribution by 48%.
27
Unsafe
Manning & Napier (MN), an investment manager, experienced a meaningful decline in its assets under its management. As a result of its falling earnings and elevated payout ratio near 100%, the firm’s dividend was slashed by 50%.
5
Very Unsafe
BlackRock Capital Investment Corporation (BKCC) lowered its dividend 14% in response to underperforming investments the business development company had made in the troubled oil and gas sector.
14
Very Unsafe
TICC Capital (TICC) reduced its dividend by 31% as tighter loan spreads reduced the business development company’s investment income.
1
Very Unsafe
Seaspan (SSW), a water vessel leasing company, was challenged by excess industry supply and heavy debt. Management dropped the dividend by 67%.
6
Very Unsafe
Kindred Healthcare (KND) suspended its dividend in order to repay debt and free up more capital for growth. The home healthcare services company was losing money and operated with too much leverage.
21
Unsafe
Nevsun Resources (NSU), a base metals mining and exploration company, found itself needing more cash to fund large projects as it encountered production challenges and declining profitability. The business cut its dividend by 75%.
27
Unsafe
GNC Holdings (GNC) eliminated its dividend entirely after the health and wellness products retailer faced falling same-store sales and high debt.
12
Very Unsafe
Educational Development Corp. (EDUC) eliminated its dividend. The publisher of children’s books was growing rapidly but also maintained substantial debt. To continue funding its growth, the company amended its debt covenants which required it to suspend its dividend. 
19
Very Unsafe
Equity One (EQY) reduced its dividend by 18% as the shopping center REIT struggled with its high payout ratio and the continued rise of online shopping. 
6
Very Unsafe
Scorpio Tankers (STNG) slashed its dividend by 92% as a result of the tank vessel company’s heavy debt and declining cash flow as petroleum transportation markets remained weak.
14
Very Unsafe
Highway Holdings (HIHO), an industrial components manufacturer, chopped its dividend by 30% as it faced declining sales, lower profitability, a high payout ratio, and a dangerous amount of financial leverage.
11
Very Unsafe
Fifth Street Finance Corp (FSC) slashed its dividend by 61% as the business development company responded to its declining investment income, excessive financial leverage, and need to restructure.
27
Unsafe
Columbia Property Trust (CXP) cut its dividend by 33% due to the office REIT’s disposal of lower quality properties and need to strengthen its balance sheet.
18
Very Unsafe
Alon USA Partners, LP (ALDW), an integrated downstream oil refinery company, dropped its dividend by 27% after the MLP experienced declining sales, falling distributable cash flow, and increasingly risk credit metrics. 
16
Very Unsafe
The Mosaic Company (MOS), a phosphate and potash producer, cut its dividend by 46% after weak fertilizer markets, declining cash flow, and too much debt pressured the business. 
16
Very Unsafe
Ericsson (ERIC), a diversified communications equipment provider, responded to challenging telecom market conditions and its heavy debt burden by reducing its dividend by 73%.
31
Unsafe
Meridian Bioscience (VIVO) turned to slashing its dividend by 38% as the life science company’s most profitable segment was weak and recovering slower than expected, creating a dangerously high payout ratio. The stock was down over 20% on the news.
0
Very Unsafe
Nordic American Tankers (NAT) lowered its dividend by 23% as weak shipping market conditions caused cash flow to decline, the company’s balance sheet was strained, and the capital-intensive tanker business needed to preserve capital. 
17
Very Unsafe
Pearson (PSO) suffered from declining demand for its textbooks and its significant financial leverage. The educational products company reduced its dividend by 72%.
1
Very Unsafe
ARMOUR Residential REIT (ARR) experienced declining revenue and needed to conserve cash due to its heavy debt load and high payout ratio. The mortgage REIT lowered its dividend by 14%.
0
Very Unsafe
Resource Capital Corporation (RSO) suffered from underperforming debt investments, high financial leverage, and an unsustainable payout ratio. In response, the mortgage REIT slashed its dividend by 88%.
1
Very Unsafe
KCAP Financial (KCAP) is a business development company that cut its dividend by 20% due to falling net investment income and its stretched balanced sheet.
28
Unsafe
Liberty Property Trust (LPT), an industrial and office REIT, reduced its dividend by 16% in response to the company’s restructuring and asset sales, which will reduce future cash flow. 
21
Unsafe
Investors Real Estate Trust (IRET) cut its dividend by 46%. The residential REIT's payout was no longer covered by its cash flow, and the firm carried too much debt. Management desired more financial flexibility to improve and grow IRET's portfolio of multifamily properties. 
12
Very Unsafe
Investors Real Estate Trust (IRT) cut its dividend by 46% as the diversified REIT combatted a high payout ratio and declining cash flow caused by volatile energy markets and increased supply. 
1
Very Unsafe
CoreCivic (CXW), a REIT providing prison facilities used by government agencies, slashed its dividend by 22% due to declining cash flow and regulatory headwinds as several federal agencies considered ending their use of privately run prisons.
1
Very Unsafe
Comtech Telecommunications (CMTL) was strained by its significant financial leverage and challenging business conditions. The communications equipment business cut its dividend by 67%.
2
Very Unsafe
Allegheny Technologies (ATI), a specialty metals manufacturer, suspended its dividend entirely due to weak end markets and a desperate need to shore up its indebted balance sheet.
6
Very Unsafe
PennantPark (PNNT) reduced its dividend by 36% after the investment firm suffered from weak energy markets, falling yields, and decreasing investment income.
9
Very Unsafe
Daxor Corporation (DXR), a medical and biotechnology company, lowered its dividend by 33% to free up cash for investment.  
4
Very Unsafe
THL Credit (TCRD) was challenged by lower yields and refused to invest in riskier assets. Combined with its high payout ratio, the business development company was forced to reduce its dividend by 21%.
4
Very Unsafe
Garrison Capital (GARS) reduced its dividend by 20%. The business development company suffered several debt investment losses, pushing its payout ratio above 100%. Combined with management’s more conservative lending guidelines, Garrison Capital needed to realign its dividend with its lower earnings projection going forward.
25
Unsafe
Horizon Technology Finance (HRZN) slashed its dividend by 13% as the business development company experienced lower interest income due to its shrinking loan portfolio.
28
Unsafe
Ellington Financial (EFC), a mortgage REIT, lowered its dividend by 10% after bond volatility hurt the value of its investment portfolio. 
18
Very Unsafe
North European Oil Royalty Trust (NRT) chopped its dividend by 48% in response to weak energy markets and delayed royalty payments.
3
Very Unsafe
Westmoreland Resource Partners, LP (WMLP) needed to preserve cash after being affected by a weak thermal coal market. The highly indebted energy MLP slashed its distribution by 33% to help with its recovery.
34
Unsafe
StoneMor Partners (STON) had increased its distribution each year since 2005 prior to announcing a 50% cut. The stock collapsed 45% on the news. The operator or cemeteries and funeral homes was experiencing sluggish revenue growth due to the rise in popularity of cremation over traditional burials. StoneMor Partners also operated with significant financial leverage, and its payout ratio had climbed to unsustainable levels in recent years.  
33
Unsafe
Oceaneering International (OII) cut its dividend by 44% despite its healthy free cash flow generation and balance sheet. The provider of engineered services and products to the offshore energy market believed it to be prudent to cut its payout given weak oil prices.
38
Unsafe
Telefonica (TEF) needed to accelerate its debt reduction efforts in order to preserve its investment grade credit rating. The telecommunications company slashed its dividend by 25%.
4
Very Unsafe
Martin Midstream Partners (MMLP) was hurt by lower oil prices, too much financial leverage, and a need to preserve cash in light of its increasing cost of capital. The midstream energy MLP reduced its distribution by 39%.
15
Very Unsafe
Diebold (DBD) acquired Wincor Nixdorf for $1.9 billion, which negatively impacted the company’s balance sheet. The services, software, and hardware company responded by lowering its dividend by 65% to help its deleveraging efforts.
12
Very Unsafe
Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. (FGP) cut its distribution by 81%. In an effort to diversify its business, in June 2015 the propane distributor paid $837.5 million to acquire Bridger Logistics, a midstream energy company. This deal saddled Ferrellgas with debt, forcing management to slash the distribution to protect the balance sheet when oil prices remained low and various legal issues arose.
20
Very Unsafe
Viacom (VIA) chopped its dividend by 50% in order to strengthen the media company’s balance sheet, improve its liquidity and invest in opportunities to grow its core business. 
3
Very Unsafe
SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) suffered from a heavy debt load, a high payout ratio, and bad publicity surrounding its killer whale shows. The company responded by dropping its dividend by 52% and eliminating it completely one quarter later.
12
Very Unsafe
San Juan Basin Royalty Trust (SJT) experienced financial turmoil from lower gas prices, resulting in a 34% decrease to its dividend.
6
Very Unsafe
Marine Petroleum Trust (MARPS) lowered its dividend by 41% in response to declining earnings caused by lower oil prices.
14
Very Unsafe
Mesa Royalty Trust (MTR) responded to lower gas prices by reducing its dividend by 36%. 
5
Very Unsafe
Communications Systems (JCS), a network services and architecture company, cut its dividend by 75% as it was losing money and wanted to direct more resources towards growth initiatives.
20
Very Unsafe
Medley Capital (MCC) reduced its dividend by 27% after the business development company experienced falling net investment income.
18
Very Unsafe
Houston Wire & Cable (HWCC) responded to weak industrial demand, depressed energy markets, and its net losses by slashing its dividend by 50%.
40
Unsafe
PDL BioPharma (PDLI) eliminated its dividend entirely in order to free up cash for strategic investments and provide financing for long-term growth.
1
Very Unsafe
Textainer Group (TGH), a container leasing company, cut its dividend by 88% as it struggled with its high debt load and weak market conditions.
23
Unsafe
Apollo Investment (AINV) suffered from high financial leverage and reduced its dividend by 25% as part of the management investment company’s restructuring strategy.
1
Very Unsafe
Calumet Specialty Products Parnters, L.P. (CLMT), a producer of petroleum-based specialty products, eliminated its distribution to strengthen its balance sheet and preserve capital.
13
Very Unsafe
Computer Programs (CPSI) lowered their dividend by 47% as they moved to a variable dividend policy in response to fluctuation in sales and profits and too much financial leverage.
4
Very Unsafe
Murphy Oil (MUR), an oil and gas exploration and production company, responded to depressed commodity prices and ongoing operating losses by cutting its dividend by 29%.
6
Very Unsafe
Evolving Systems (EVOL), an application software company, suspended its dividend in order to improve its financial flexibility and fund various growth initiatives.
3
Very Unsafe
Medallion Financial (MFIN) struggled with an underperforming loan portfolio and weak liquidity. This resulted in the specialty finance company dropping its dividend by 80%.
3
Very Unsafe
Williams (WMB) reduced its dividend by 69% due to weak energy markets and a need to protect the natural gas company’s credit rating.
18
Very Unsafe
North European Oil Royalty Trust (NRT) encountered trouble with depressed energy markets and delayed royalty payments, leading the firm to reduce its dividend by 38%.
18
Very Unsafe
CVR Partners (UAN) was losing money, so the indebted nitrogen fertilizer company responded by lowering its dividend by 37%
9
Very Unsafe
Potash (POT), a potash, nitrogen, and phosphate products company, lowered its dividend by 60% due to weak fertilizer markets.
23
Unsafe
American Capital Agency (AGNC), a mortgage REIT, cut its dividend by 10% due to volatile market conditions, unfavorable interest rate fluctuations, and its high payout ratio.  
23
Unsafe
Seadrill Partners LLC (SDLP) wanted to improve its liquidity position after numerous energy customers cancelled their contracts. The offshore drilling rig company reduced its dividend by 60%.
29
Unsafe
Cross Timbers Royalty Trust (CRT) decided to drop its dividend by 11% in response to lower oil and gas volumes and its high payout ratio.
82
Very Safe
Ecology and Environment (EEI) is a micro-cap stock that had very solid financial health, but management decided it wanted to invest more for growth, freeing up additional cash for reinvestment by reducing the firm’s dividend by 17%

There was not much we could have done to flag this dividend cut ahead of time since management’s decision to reduce the dividend had almost nothing to do with the company’s actual fundamentals. However, we treat micro-caps with greater conservatism today in recognition of their generally more dynamic capital allocation policies.
9
Very Unsafe
Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. (PAA), an energy infrastructure and natural gas company, slashed its distribution by 21% to preserve capital after being hurt by lower oil prices.
7
Very Unsafe
Plains GP Holdings, L.P. (PAGP) was hurt by lower oil prices, leading the midstream energy infrastructure company to lower its distribution by 11% in order to preserve capital.
8
Very Unsafe
Daktronics (DAKT), a company that manufactures electronic entertainment technology, announced a 40% decrease to its regular dividend in order to add a special, less predictable dividend going forward.
23
Unsafe
Capstead Mortgage (CMO), a mortgage REIT, struggled with volatile investment income, a high payout ratio, and substantial debt. As a result, management cut the firm’s dividend by 12%
2
Very Unsafe
Universal Technical Institute (UTI), a provider of automotive technician training, cut its dividend entirely. The education company was losing money. 
5
Very Unsafe
RF Industries (RFIL), a manufacturer of electronic components and cabling solutions, chopped its dividend by 71% as the company was losing money and needed to preserve capital. 
15
Very Unsafe
CYS Investments (CYS) lowered its dividend by 4% as the mortgage REIT combated volatile interest rates and a high payout ratio.
27
Unsafe
Sabine Royalty Trust (SBR) slashed its dividend by 38% in response to lower oil and gas volumes and prices. 
17
Very Unsafe
San Juan Basin Royalty Trust (SJT) experienced financial turmoil from lower gas prices, resulting in a 32% decrease to its dividend.
26
Unsafe
Cross Timbers Royalty (CRT) was hurt by lower oil prices and its high payout ratio, resulting in a 13% decrease to its dividend.
3
Very Unsafe
Marine Petroleum Trust (MARPS) lowered its dividend by 18% in response to damage caused by lower oil prices.
19
Very Unsafe
United-Guardian (UG), a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, cut its dividend by 30% after experiencing marketing problems in China which caused sales to drop nearly 50%.
9
Very Unsafe
OCI Partners LP (OCIP) suffered as prices of methanol, ammonia, and natural gas dropped. The indebted and capital-intensive methanol and ammonia producer lowered its dividend by 81%
3
Very Unsafe
TheStreet (TST) eliminated its dividend entirely in response to the financial news and information provider’s operating losses and need to restructure the company.
1
Very Unsafe
Legacy Reserves LP (LGCY), an oil and natural gas development company, suspended its dividend as it dealt with depressed energy prices. The firm needed to strengthen its indebted balance sheet and preserve capital. 
10
Very Unsafe
Carlyle Group (CG) responded to challenging market conditions by issuing a 10% reduction to the asset management company’s dividend.
2
Very Unsafe
EV Energy Partners, LP (EVEP) eliminated its dividend after the oil and gas company was challenged by ongoing net losses, volatile energy markets, and dangerously high financial leverage. The firm filed for bankruptcy two years later.
2
Very Unsafe
Memorial Production (MEMP) experienced weak industry conditions that forced the indebted energy MLP to reduce its distribution by 70%.
33
Unsafe
Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. (AHGP) cut its distribution by 41% as depressed coal prices lowered its distributable cash flow and further strained its indebted balance sheet. 
26
Unsafe
Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. (ARLP) lowered its distribution by 35% as it attempted to recover from a weak coal market and too much debt on its balance sheet.
1
Very Unsafe
Vale (VALE) eliminated its dividend entirely to preserve cash after a prolonged slump in metal prices pressured its cash flow and credit rating. 
4
Very Unsafe
NGL Energy Partners, LP (NGL) slashed its distribution by 39% in response to low commodity prices and its need to conserve cash due to the midstream energy MLP’s high financial leverage and payout ratio.
5
Very Unsafe
National Oilwell Varco (NOV) cut its dividend by 89% to preserve cash flow and keep its balance sheet healthy in response to plunging oil prices. 
0
Very Unsafe
CONSOL Energy (CNX) responded to weak natural gas and coal prices, which caused the indebted company to lose money, by suspending its dividend.
29
Unsafe
Goldcorp (GG) experienced weak production levels and a needed to maintain a strong balance sheet, resulting in the gold production company lowering its dividend by 67%. Goldcorp’s stock dropped more than 10% on the news. 
5
Very Unsafe
BHP Billiton (BHP) was hurt by a rout in commodity markets that sent the diversified miner’s earnings tumbling. To protect its solid credit rating, BHP slashed its dividend by 87%, marking its first reduction since 1988.
1
Very Unsafe
Devon Energy (DVN) cut its dividend by 75% to protect the oil and gas producer’s balance sheet during challenging energy markets.
1
Very Unsafe
Anadarko Petroleum (APC) needed to preserve cash during while energy markets remained weak. The oil and natural gas company lowered its dividend by 81%.
17
Very Unsafe
ConocoPhillips (COP) was burning through cash due to the oil price cash. Due to its need to protect its balance sheet and preserve cash, the oil and gas exploration and production company cut its dividend by 66%, its first reduction in more than 25 years.
3
Very Unsafe
Noble Energy (NBL) suffered from weak energy markets and a needed to preserve cash. The oil and gas producer therefore lowered its dividend by 44%
8
Very Unsafe
Kinder Morgan (KMI), an energy infrastructure giant, slashed its dividend by 75% to preserve cash. The pipeline company’s dividend cut gave it the capital it needed to fund its expansion plans while allowing it to maintain an investment grade credit rating. Companies that depend on raising capital from debt and equity markets to fund their dividends and growth projects can be forced to make difficult decisions if their access to capital becomes strained.