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May 31, 1998

Death to dividends

The beginning of the end for dividends

Hundreds of US companies are throwing away millions in shareholders' money every quarter; corporate leaders are desperate to bury the profligacy once and for all; and investors are lining up to eulogize the soon-to-be-extinct practice. 'Problem is,' muses the Vanguard Group's Douglas Roman, 'no company wants to be the first one to do it.' This hollow-eyed zombie teetering toward oblivion is the dividend. The bullish stock market has so outstripped weakening payouts that investing for dividends is

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