What shares will you buy with your share of $19 billion in dividends?

Credit: Nicki Manix

Local investors are in for a dividend windfall with roughly $9 billion to be added to their pockets during this week alone.

As highlighted by The Australian Financial Review, data from CommSec showed that companies which reported their earnings results in February would pay out more than $19 billion to their shareholder owners, with a large chunk of that coming this week.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) will add the thickest lining to investors’ pockets with the bank paying out roughly $3.4 billion today, whereby eligible investors will receive $1.98 per share. Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) and Suncorp Group Ltd (ASX: SUN) will also pay shareholders their share of earnings on Friday, equating to roughly $1.9 billion and $386 million, respectively.

Looking ahead to next week, Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd (ASX: CCL), Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL), Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) are also due to distribute their dividends. This should equate to around $2.25 billion, based on my calculations.

Of course, these are just some of the companies paying dividends to shareholders in the near future, giving investors the ability to choose where they invest the proceeds.

Now, some will choose not to reinvest them in the share market. After all, the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) endured a very volatile start to the year and it’s gone pretty much sideways in the time since. This is particularly the case when it comes to the nation’s biggest companies, including the major banks and miners – both of which are facing strong headwinds right now.

While that may be the case however, there is also a very strong argument as to why now is a great time to pump the proceeds back into shares – and why many of your fellow investors will do just that.

To begin with, the returns on offer elsewhere in the market are pitiful, particularly with interest rates sitting at just 2%. At that rate, you’d be lucky if your cash in the bank wasn’t losing value after taxes and inflation kick in.

By comparison, many of the shares on the ASX represent great value after the falls endured this year. Some offer dividend yields well above 5%, while plenty have the potential to generate significant capital gains as well.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should just buy any old company. Some investors will automatically assume that the banks or miners are the best place for new investment dollars considering their price falls recently, but I don’t think that would be a wise move – at least not with the headwinds facing both industries.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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