If you sell before the ex-dividend date you will not receive a dividend from the company. The ex-dividend date is the date that the company has designated as the first day of trading in which the shares trade without the right to the dividend. If you sell your shares on or after this date, you will still receive the dividend.

If a shareholder is to receive a dividend, he or she needs to be on the company's records on the date of record. When you purchase shares, your name does not automatically get added to the record book- this takes about three days from the transaction date. Therefore, if the date of record is August 10, you must have purchased the shares on August 7 to receive a dividend. This would make August 8 the ex-dividend date, as it is the date directly following the last date on which you could get a dividend.

However, this is not necessarily a negative thing. Remember that a company's shares will trade for less than the dividend amount on the ex-dividend date than they did the day before. For example, imagine shares in a company are trading at $50 and the company announces a dividend of $5. Investors who hold the shares past the ex-dividend date will receive the $5; investors who sell before the ex-date will not. But all is not lost: shares in the company will fall by roughly the amount of the dividend, to $45, or there will be an arbitrage opportunity in the market. If shares didn't fall as a result of dividend payments, everyone would simply buy the shares for $50, get the $5, and then sell their shares after the ex-dividend date, essentially getting $5 free from the company.

For more information, read Declaration, Ex-dividend And Record Date Defined and How And Why Do Companies Pay Dividends?

  1. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are the dividend reinvestment options for a mutual fund?

    There are two primary choices for how investors can choose to handle dividend distributions made by mutual funds that they ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Do mutual funds pay dividends or interest?

    Depending on the type of investments included in the portfolio, mutual funds may pay dividends, interest, or both. Types ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Should I sell my shares if a company suspends its dividend?

    Since 2008, when the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to zero and then kept them there indefinitely, dividend-paying ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Do hedge funds pay dividends?

    Hedge funds rarely pay dividends to the accredited investors who invest directly in them. Instead, these investors share ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Which mutual funds pay the highest dividends?

    For many people, the reliability of dividend or interest income is one of the primary benefits of investing. Like individuals ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Where the Price is Right for Dividends

    There are two broad schools of thought for equity income investing: The first pays the highest dividend yields and the second focuses on healthy yields.
  2. Investing

    3 Cheap Dividend Growth Stocks for Your Portfolio

    Top dividend growth stocks to add to your portfolio.
  3. Investing

    The Pros and Cons of High-Yield Bonds

    Junk bonds are more volatile than investment-grade bonds but may provide significant advantages when analyzed in-depth.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    How to Reinvest Dividends from ETFs

    Learn about reinvesting ETF dividends, including the benefits and drawbacks of dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs) and manual reinvestment.
  5. Retirement

    Is Caterpillar Stock Suitable for Your IRA or Roth IRA?

    Learn about Caterpillar's suitability for a retirement portfolio. Does CAT have long-term viability? Find out if CAT is better for a traditional IRA or Roth IRA.
  6. Financial Advisors

    Ditching High-Yield Bonds for Plain Vanilla Ones

    In a low-rate environment, it's tempting to go for higher yield bonds. However, you might be better off sticking with the plain vanilla ones.
  7. Investing Basics

    What's a Franked Dividend?

    A franked dividend is an arrangement in Australia that eliminates the double taxation of dividends.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Trading Mutual Funds for a Living: Is It Possible?

    Find out why trading mutual funds for a living isn't your best bet, including how funds discourage short-term trading and which options may better serve you.
  9. Investing Basics

    Are You Too Young To Care About Dividends?

    Find out why it's never too early to begin thinking about dividends and how dividend-bearing stocks and funds can grow your investment account effortlessly.
  10. Stock Analysis

    Boeing Co. Stock: A Dividend Analysis

    Learn about The Boeing Company, its financials and its dividends, which may signal further dividend growth due to its increasing cash flow and earnings.
  1. Record Date

    The cut-off date established by a company in order to determine ...
  2. Real Estate Investment Trust - REIT

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through ...
  3. Profit Margin

    Profit margin is part of a category of profitability ratios calculated ...
  4. Dividend Yield

    A financial ratio that shows how much a company pays out in dividends ...
  5. Dividend Payout Ratio

    The percentage of earnings paid to shareholders in dividends. ...
  6. Dividend

    A distribution of a portion of a company's earnings, decided ...

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  2. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  3. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  4. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  5. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
  6. Black Monday

    October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22% in a single day. That event marked the beginning ...
Trading Center