Most annual reports show what dividends have been declared in a year, not what dividends they have actually paid. What a company declares in a year and what they pay in a year may or may not be the same. As a shareholder you want to know what you actually get paid and when. It can get confusing.
For dividends, you have a declaration date, ex-dividend date, dividend record date and dividend payment date. The declaration date is the date a company declares it will pay a dividend. The ex-dividend date is 2 business days before the dividend record date. (Most charts that give dividend information use the ex-dividend date.) The dividend record date is date that if you are the shareholder of record you will get the dividend. The dividend payment date is the actual day the dividend is paid.
In the following notice, February 20, 2014 is the declaration date. The ex-dividend date is March 27, 2014. The dividend record date is March 31, 2014 and the date the dividend is paid is April 30, 2014.
"CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Feb. 20, 2014) - TransCanada Corporation (TSX:TRP) (NYSE:TRP) (TransCanada or the Company) today announced that the Board of Directors (Board) of TransCanada declared a quarterly dividend of $0.48 per common share for the quarter ending March 31, 2014, on the Company's outstanding common shares. This is a four per cent increase over the $0.46 dividend per share paid in each of the previous four quarters. The common share dividend is payable on April 30, 2014, to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 31, 2014."
When you are buying or selling a stock, it is the ex-dividend date that you should look at. This is the date used in determining who actually gets the dividend. When you are collecting dividends, it is the payment date that is important. In my spreadsheets, I use the dividends that get paid in the applicable calendar year.
Some companies give you good information on past and current dividends. One such company is TransCanada and their dividend information is shown here.
On my other blog I am today writing about Enbridge Inc. (TSX-ENB, NYSE-ENB) ... continue...
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