A slew of companies are rushing to offer special dividends before the end of the year because of the prospect of higher taxes in 2013 as part of any "Fiscal Cliff" deal.
So far this quarter, about 63 companies with market caps greater than $500 million in the Russell 3000 index have issued special—or one-time—dividend payments. That compares with only 44 for all of 2011.
Does offering extra cash to shareholders improve a company's stock performance? Not necessarily.
About half of the companies this quarter have seen their shares rise more than 1 percent from the time they announced the dividend until the record date, after which shareholders are no longer eligible. The other half were either flat or saw their shares fall by more than 1 percent.
Some sectors are participating more than others. Many of the names—34 companies—are either financials or industrials.
Looking to take advatange of the trend? Here are some of the companies offering special dividends that haven't reached their record date—or end of eligibility—yet.