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Important Dates for Dividends

To ensure that you receive the dividends that are due you, understand the following dates related to the declaration and payment of dividends.

Announcement (Declaration) Date is the date on which the board of directors of a company announces the amount of the next dividend and its ex-dividend, record and payment dates.

Ex-Dividend Date is the date on which or after the stock trades without a dividend. So if you buy the stock on or after the ex-dividend date, you will not receive the next dividend. If you sell a stock before the ex-dividend date, you will not receive the dividend (the buyer will receive the dividend). If you sell after the ex-dividend date, you will receive the dividend (the buyer will not receive the dividend).

Record Date is the date the company determines the list of shareholders who qualify for the dividend. To be a shareholder of record you must own the stock at least one day before the ex-dividend date.

Payment Date is the date on which the dividend is paid to shareholders of record in the form of a dividend check or a credit to your account.

For example General Electric (GE) declared its regular quarterly dividend of $0.25 on November 11, 2005. The ex-dividend date is December 22, 2005, the record date is December 27, 2005 and the payable date is January 25, 2006.

Check a company's Web site for dividend dates and amounts.


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