Shareholder payouts to hit record high

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Shareholder payouts by UK companies will hit a record £75bn this year. The prediction comes from Capita Registrars who say total dividend payouts will climb 10 per cent in 2012, from the record £67.8bn in 2011.

Retail investors will benefit from a record £8.55bn dividends this year, up £0.5bn on last year, according to the company's Private Investor Watch.

"There are signs of improvement in the economy which suggests share prices may well be underpinned," said Charles Cryer, the chief executive of Capita. "That seems to have encouraged investors back into the market."

The most popular sector this year has been resources, Capita reported, where soaring oil prices drove investors to add £368m to their holdings. They have also bought £144m of financial shares, but consumer goods, healthcare and utilities all saw net selling.