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James Sinegal

Why Some Companies Are Not Accelerating Dividends

A bundle of companies, conscience of the looming fiscal cliff deadline, have been busy accelerating 2013 dividends to December. But what about those, including General Electric (NYSE:GE), that are paying them in January anyway?With a market cap of more than $300 billion, GE is the largest of a slew of recent companies to announce a dividend hike but still pay it in January despite a potential doubling in dividend taxes should the U.S. fail to resolve its fiscal issues.The decision could carry hefty financial consequences for shareholders.Assuming the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year, the rate a GE shareholder pays on dividend taxes could jump to 39.6% next year from 15%.So why are GE and a host of other companies including Pier 1 Imports (NYSE:PIR), CVS (NYSE:CVS), H&R Block (NYSE:HRB), Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), Aetna (NYSE:AET) and Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), opting out of the acceleration trend?There are a wide variety of reasons, but perhaps the biggest is a lack of cash...

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