Introduction to Dividend Stocks

What are dividend stocks?

Dividend stocks are companies that distribute a portion of their net profit to shareholders in the form of cash dividends. These stocks are sought after by investors because they not only offer potential share price appreciation, but also provide a regular stream of income.

Investors often consider dividend payments as a sign of financial stability, indicating that the company is generating consistent profits. This makes dividend stocks an attractive option for building a long-term investment portfolio.

dividend stocks explained

How Do Dividends Work?

When a company is financially profitable, it has the option to either reinvest the surplus funds back into the business or distribute them to shareholders as dividends. The decision to pay dividends is typically made by the board of directors, who announce the upcoming dividend and relevant dates for its distribution.


Let’s consider Company A, which reviews its quarterly financial statements and determines that it had a profitable quarter. Upon approval from the board, the company announces on April 1st that a dividend payment will be made to eligible shareholders on May 10th. The public is also provided with the record date and ex-dividend date. On the pay date, the company pays the dividend, and shareholders observe the reflected amount in their accounts.

How do dividends work

Types of Stocks that Pay Dividends

There are two main types of stocks: growth stocks and value stocks. Growth stocks usually retain earnings to reinvest in their rapidly expanding businesses. On the other hand, value stocks refer to more mature companies that have potentially reached a plateau in growth.

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Value stocks are more likely to pay dividends due to their limited growth opportunities at the time. Rather than reinvesting, these companies prefer to distribute capital to shareholders, who can then decide how to utilize the dividend payment.

While paying dividends seems logical, it does come with risks. Once a company commits to paying dividends, it can be challenging to reverse that decision. Weak earnings may lead to a reduction or cancellation of dividends, which can have a negative impact on the company’s share price if investors become concerned.

Stock Sectors Known for Dividend Stocks

  • Utilities: Electricity, water, and natural gas suppliers
  • Energy: Oil and natural gas suppliers
  • Telecommunications: Network providers and wireless services
  • Consumer staples: Household products, medication, food/beverages, tobacco, and alcohol
  • Real Estate: Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), commercial, residential

When Are Stock Dividends Paid?

Dividends are typically paid on the “pay date” specified by the company, but only to eligible shareholders who owned the shares before the “ex-dividend date.” The dividend payment process unfolds as follows:

  • Declaration date: The board of directors communicates the intention to pay a dividend and announces the date of record and pay date.
  • Ex-dividend date (ex-div): The first day the share trades without the right to receive the dividend. Shareholders who purchase the stock on or after this date will not receive the most recent dividend but will be eligible for future dividends if they hold the shares until the next ex-dividend date.
  • Record date: The date when the company documents the eligible shareholders for the dividend payment. The record date is usually one business day after the ex-dividend date.
  • Pay date: The date when the dividend is paid to the shareholders. This is typically a few weeks after the record date.
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Dividend stock important dates to remember

How to Invest in Dividend Stocks

Equities Forecast

Before investing in dividend stocks, it is crucial to consider various fundamental factors and market ratios:

To evaluate potential dividend stocks, investors often focus on factors such as dividend yield, price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, payout ratio, and dividend growth.

Dividend Stocks FAQs

What is stopping me from simply buying the share before the ex-div date to receive the dividend and selling the share on the ex-div date to make a quick profit?

Investors take into account various methods when valuing a stock, including the dividend discount model. This model forecasts future dividends and discounts them to present value. Therefore, when a dividend is no longer available, the market adjusts the share price accordingly on the ex-dividend date, resulting in a drop roughly equal to the amount of the dividend per share.

Further Reading on the Stock Market

For more information on the stock market, you can explore our range of resources:

  • Quarterly equity forecast for major stock indices
  • How to value a stock
  • Understanding market value ratios
  • Stock sectors and their characteristics

Remember, investing in dividend stocks requires careful analysis and consideration of individual circumstances. It’s always advisable to consult with a financial advisor before making any investment decisions.