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All 34 banks that represent the majority of U.S. banking assets got the Fed’s nod to raise dividends and announce record buybacks last week. Announcements made by the major banks pushed these stocks up by 1% – 2% last week, even though the broader market failed to impress. A thumbs-up was given by the dividend investing community as most major banks on the Most Watched Stocks list saw slight upticks in their rankings.

The crash of the financial sector almost brought the entire U.S. economy to the brink of depression in 2008. Since many financial institutions have been deemed as too big to fail, the Federal Reserve conducts annual stress tests. These tests create hypothetical scenarios that measure how banks would perform in adverse economic/financial conditions. Apart from Capital One, which was given a conditional approval, all banks were cleared of their plans to release buybacks/dividend back to the shareholders.

Key buybacks/dividends cleared after last week’s stress test results:


  • Boosted quarterly dividend to 56 cents a share from 50 cents.
  • Announced a share buyback program of $19.4 B for the next one year starting June 1, 2017.


  • Doubled quarterly dividend to 32 cents.
  • Share repurchase program of $15.6 B.

Wells Fargo

  • Increased dividend to 39 cents a share.
  • $11.5 B share buyback program.

Morgan Stanley

  • Boosted quarterly dividend to 25 cents.
  • Announced a $5 B share buyback program.

Bank of America

  • Increased dividend to 12 cents a share.
  • Announced a $12 B share repurchase plan.

Big moves were also seen for Target, for the second week in a row, as it again jumped 2 spots from 26 to 24. The stock was up 3 spots last week from 29 to 26.

Another important move was for a railroad Best Dividend Stock that broke into the top 100 list for the first time.

Our Most Watched Stocks List is a user-generated, interest-based ranking of dividend-paying stocks. Generated by our Premium members’ watchlists, it’s aggregated and ranked by the most watched criteria.

The list has been designed to help income investors navigate the top dividend stocks being tracked by one of the world’s most advanced investing communities, giving you a real-time snapshot of buying interest in the market.

Find out what dividend investors were buying and selling last week by going Premium for free.

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