The Ex-Dividend Date is the most important date when you are playing a stock for a dividend or forward split! There are so many dates involved during the dividend process that some traders don’t actually understand when they are eligible to receive dividends. It is important to understand how the dividend process works and what role the ex dividend date plays when compared to the record date and payment date.
A trader who lacks the understanding of the dividend process can lose out on profit. Trading is a difficult occupation as it is, no being able to capitalize on trades for maximum profit is unacceptable. Failure to understand the dividend process can lead the trader into selling his stock to early which may mean taking an unneeded loss. Selling early will also mean the trader is ineligible for the dividend payout. Holding the stock to long after the dividend is paid out can bring other problems. Many traders may sell a stock after the dividend is paid out causing a dip in price. This dip will decrease the traders chance of maximizing profit.
The EX-Dividend Date is the first day a stock trades without the dividend attached. If you buy a stock on the Ex-Dividend Date you are not qualified for the dividend. Therefore, if you’re very interested in receiving a companies dividends, you must own prior to the Ex-dividend date.This also means you can sell a stock on the Ex-Dividend date and still receive the dividends even though they have not been placed in your account yet. Some of the other names sound more formal, such as record date and payment date but the one you need to focus on is the Ex-Dividend Date.
The Record Date is when the company begins to work on dividend payments to the shareholders, or the shareholders on record.
The Payment Date is when the company expects the payout to shareholders to be completed.
It must be noted that this can all happen rather quickly but that there can be a long period of time between the ex-dividend date and the payout date and that is very important in case you feel the need to exit ownership of a stock but would like to receive the dividend first.
For those long term buy and hold traders these problems will never arise unless your planning on buying a stock for the dividend or selling one after you receive your dividend. Most long term traders will hold a stock through the price cycles.
EX-Dividend Date and Penny Stocks
Dividends with penny stocks follow the same rules as every other company. With penny stocks problems have arisen during forward splits because a company may not understand how the process works and begin to sell shares they do not own yet. Not only is this a bad sale on the part of company ownership but now those shares are elligable for the forward split. These mistakes have been known to increase the share amount beyond the authorized share limit with the SEC having to step in and halt trading.
The main issue with penny stocks and dividends is the ability to pump and dump the dividend excitement. Pumpers create scams that drive the price of a penny stock up so that others may sell for higher profit and leave those traders waiting for dividends at a loss. There are a few ways these scams are perpetrated, anyone who has traded penny stocks for a while will notice these scams immediately. Hopefully they weren’t victims of these scams themselves. It can be a tough lesson to learn.
A reason companies often exploit penny stocks in this manner is their ability to manipulate penny stock traders who are often novices to trading and can easily be duped. One way a penny stock company will exploit the dividend process is to announce a dividend in advance of actually filing it. The press release will say something to the effect of: Company XYZ trading at .015 has just announced they are issuing a .02 per share dividend to each share holder pending shareholder approval. This causes excitement in the penny stock world, a 100+% dividend! Thats a big dividend for a penny stock company and then the pumping begins. After purchasing company XYZ they begin to place the dividend announcement on ever penny stock forum and penny stock chat room they can find. This causes the volume in the stock to rise which in turn causes the price of the stock to rise. While the price rises, those who own the company and own the majority of shares begin to sell into the excitement. This allows them to sell at a better price without worrying that the amount of shares they are dumping will drop the price per share. The may even continue to issue press releases that remind traders of the promise of the company and the fact that they are issuing such a large dividend. At a time in the future they will announce that there will be no dividend as a majority of shareholders voted no. Being that the same people who write the press releases also own 51% of the company this is obviously a fixed outcome and a very simple penny stock scam.