FRUITFUL QUARTER: Dividends' comeback took another big step in the first quarter when Apple said it would resume payouts for the first time in 17 years. Other tech companies also initiated or increased dividends as the sector gradually sheds its reputation as dividend-averse.
FIVE-YEAR BEST: Some 677 dividend payers increased their payouts while only 31 decreased them, according to Standard & Poor's. That nearly 22-to-1 ratio made it the best first quarter for dividends since 2007, the year before the market crumbled.
BANKS ARE BACK: Big banks that shrank their dividends after the 2008 financial meltdown increased them again after passing so-called stress tests and getting cleared to boost dividends by the Federal Reserve. They included Wells Fargo, U.S Bancorp and JPMorgan Chase.