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Some Banks Returning as Significant Dividend Payers | March 15, 2013 | 09:52 AM EDT

The bank capital return plans : Some banks returning as significant dividend payers.

Good news:

1) Bank of America [ BAC 17.685  +0.065 (+0.37%) ] was the big winner: A larger-than-expected $5 billion share buyback and a plan to redeem $5.5 billion in preferred shares. No dividend increase, but the buyback was much bigger than most projected — some had anticipated as little as a $1 billion.

2) Some banks are returning as significant dividend payers. Wells Fargo [ WFC 54.78  +0.33 (+0.61%) ] increased the annual dividend to $1.20, some 34 percent above last year and higher than most estimates. The bank now pays out the highest dividend yields of the large banks, about 3.2 percent, with JPMorgan Chase [ JPM 61.755  -0.175 (-0.28%) ] at about 3 percent.

Others are heading toward the significant 3 percent ratio. Capital One Financial [ COF 82.81  +0.38 (+0.46%) ] went from $0.20 to $1.20, now with a 2.2 percent yield.

On average, dividends were raised by about 20 percent.

Bad news: Still no meaningful dividends at Bank of America and Citigroup [ C 53.695  -0.315 (-0.58%) ]. Both maintain de minimis annual dividends of $0.04 a year.

What's next? First-quarter earnings, but with the bank index up about 12 percent this year ... and big banks like Citi up 12 percent in March alone (20 percent for the year!). I would not be surprised to see some profit-taking.


1) Exchange-traded funds and mutual fund flows: Strong inflows into stocks continue. For the week ending March 13, equity funds (ETFs and mutual funds) had inflows of $11.2 billion, mostly from ETFs. Taxable bond funds (ETFs and mutual funds) had inflows of only $1.2 billion, with modest outflows from bond ETFs. Bottom line: Not a Great Rotation yet, but less and less money is going into bond funds. Last week, for example, there was $5.2 billion going into bond funds.

2) Global indices this week: U.S. is up, Europe is fractionally higher, emerging market demand is declining. I noted all this week that money is coming into the U.S. markets, and — because of concern that China might be tightening — coming out of emerging markets. S&P 500 is up fractionally, but look at stock indices in these commodity-rich countries:

This Week:

Indonesia (IDX) -3.7%China (FXI) -3.4%Brazil (EWZ) -2.8%South Africa (EZA) -2.5%Peru (EPU) -2.2%Turkey (TUR) -2.2%Russia (RSX) -2.1%Malaysia (EWM) -1.6%

By CNBC's Bob Pisani

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