Stockholders and investors interested in when a company pays its dividends typically look for three key dates. The declaration date occurs when the board of directors declares its intent to make a dividend payment, which then creates a formal liability on a company's balance sheet. Stockholders who own shares in a company on or before the ex-dividend date (also known as the date of record) will receive the current dividend. The payment date represents the actual day that a company distributes its dividend. These dates apply to both cash and stock dividends.
How to Find Out When Companies Pay Dividends
1. Turn to any major newspaper's business section and stock pages, which include key data such as the current price and dividend information on public companies. Newspapers generally group companies by exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, and list them alphabetically.
2. Access the finance Web page of a major newspaper or media company such as The Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. Enter the company's symbol in the search box, which typically appears near the top of the page. Look through the key stock data, which includes dividend information such as the latest payment date, yield and ex-dividend date.
3. Access a company Web page directly and click on the Investor Relations link. Public companies list their dividend periods, which generally include the abbreviations FY for full year and Q for specific calendar quarters, as well as all relevant payment and record dates. Most companies provide at least five years of data.
4. Look within a company's annual report for all current dividend information. Stockholders automatically receive a physical copy once per year, and most companies provide their annual reports online as PDF (Portable Document Format) files. Read through a company's quarterly mailings as well, which list all relevant dividend payment details.
- If you have limited access to information from outside sources, or have difficulty reading print materials, call directory assistance for a company's main telephone number and ask to be transferred to their Investor Relations department. All public companies must staff and maintain this office, and they will provide dividend payment dates to all callers. Private companies will generally give this information only to stockholders of record.
Items you will need
- Annual report