Stock Dividend: What It Is and How It Works, With Example

The dividend yield shows how much a company has paid out in dividends over the course of a year. The yield is presented as a percentage, not as an actual dollar amount. This makes it easier to see how much return the shareholder can expect to receive per dollar they have invested.

  • Below is an example from General Electric’s (GE)’s 2017 financial statements.
  • This type of portfolio management would dictate blue-chip businesses that pay a dividend that might grow at only a few percentage points per year.
  • When deciding which common stocks to include in your investment portfolio, focusing on dividends offers several advantages.
  • Companies structured as master limited partnerships (MLPs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs) require specified distributions to shareholders.
  • A stock dividend is different from an ordinary cash dividend; it happens when a company gives additional shares to owners based on a ratio.

Declaration date – the day the board of directors announces its intention to pay a dividend. On that day, a liability is created and the company records that liability on its books; it now owes the money to the shareholders. Many companies pride themselves on paying dividends regardless of market conditions or other factors. Many investors, particularly retirees, may try to invest primarily or solely in such dividend-paying stocks. Stocks that commonly pay dividends are more established companies that don’t need to reinvest all of their profits. For example, more than 84% of companies in the S&P 500 currently pay dividends.

Dividends vs. Capital Gains

A qualified dividend is a dividend payment from an eligible share of stock held at least 61 days out of the 121-day period that began 60 days before the security’s ex-dividend date. Those who wanted the income could sell them, while those who wanted expansion could retain them. The dividend rate can be quoted in terms of the dollar amount each share receives as dividends per share (DPS). In addition to dividend yield, another important performance measure to assess the returns generated from a particular investment is the total return factor.

A dividend is a payment in cash or stock that public companies distribute to their shareholders. Income investors prefer to earn a steady stream of income from dividends without needing to sell shares of stock. Investors seeking income are often drawn to companies that pay dividends. Income from dividends also cushions the blow if a stock’s price drops. A stock-investing fund pays dividends from the earnings received from the many stocks held in its portfolio or by selling a certain share of stocks and distributing capital gains.

Merck has the highest historical EPS growth on this list, but analysts expect the company’s growth to slow to an average of 10.5% over the next five years. Some of the best investment apps include features or functions that enable users to identify which companies offer dividend payouts. Investors can narrow down their stock investment search by screening, comparing and analyzing the vast universe of dividend-paying stocks. says the highest-yielding dividends often come from basic materials stocks — like oil and gas, metals, chemicals, construction and wood/paper products — followed by financial stocks. In order for a company to pay a dividend to shareholders, it must be approved by the board of directors. This Jedi Counsel (i.e, board of directors) is made up of advisors to the company selected to represent the shareholders’ interests.


Managers of corporations have several types of distributions they can make to the shareholders. A share buyback is when a company uses cash on the balance sheet to repurchase shares in the open market. Interim dividends are dividend payments made before a company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and final financial statements. This declared dividend usually accompanies the company’s interim financial statements. Occasionally, companies issue a special dividend — an extra payout to common stockholders.

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Dividends paid by funds, such as a bond or mutual funds, are different from dividends paid by companies. Funds employ the principle of net asset value (NAV), which reflects the valuation of their holdings or the price of the assets that a fund has in its portfolio. Dividends are often expected by the shareholders as a reward for their investment in a company.

Which Are The Best Dividend Stocks?

For many investors, that would make the stock well worth purchasing despite its current dividend yield, which is 0.00%. If you’re a Weatherford investor who needs income, you can just sell a relatively small number of shares. This article focused on that third option—investing in individual stocks with attractive dividends. For experienced investors, this approach can make the most of a good dividend stock. The dividend from a stock that pays generously is not diluted by other stocks in a mutual fund or ETF portfolio that pay a lower dividend or none at all or are less reliable dividend payers.

It can be assumed that every dollar a company is paying in dividends to its shareholders is a dollar that the company is not reinvesting to grow and generate more capital gains. Even without earning any dividends, shareholders have the potential to earn higher returns if the value of their stock increases while they hold it as a result of company growth. A dividend is a share of profits and retained earnings that a company pays out to its shareholders and owners. When a company generates a profit and accumulates retained earnings, those earnings can be either reinvested in the business or paid out to shareholders as a dividend. The annual dividend per share divided by the share price is the dividend yield.

What Is a Stock Dividend?

If you’re in this situation, the amount of foreign tax paid may then be used to offset your U.S. tax liability. When the dividend is dependable, this makes those companies a more appealing investment for people seeking passive income, such as retirees. That can help increase the value of their stock because income investors tend to value stocks based on their income yield rather than other metrics. When a company pays a dividend it is not considered an expense since it is a payment made to the company’s shareholders.

For starters, the dividend yield on a company’s stock can serve as a sort of signal about an under- or over-valuation. Generations of academic research have consistently proven that the so-called “quality of earnings” for dividend-paying firms is higher than those that don’t pay dividends. Over time, dividend-paying tax concerns when your nonprofit corporation earns money firms tend to outperform non-dividend-paying firms. Generally, a capital gain occurs where a capital asset is sold for an amount greater than the amount of its cost at the time the investment was purchased. A dividend is a parsing out a share of the profits, and is taxed at the dividend tax rate.

Utility firms are often mature companies with relatively steady earnings, so they tend to pay dividends to their shareholders. By comparison, younger tech companies generally focus on growth, so they may prefer to invest any earnings back into themselves. For example, NextEra Energy paid a dividend of $1.40 per share in the third quarter of 2020, while GoPro has never paid one as of the third quarter of 2020. That makes the company attractive to investors and may help it to raise additional funding in the future. In real estate investment trusts and royalty trusts, the distributions paid often will be consistently greater than the company earnings.

Conversely, businesses with rapid growth typically reinvest any cash generated back into the company and not to paying shareholder dividends. Therefore, these businesses are more likely to distribute a percentage of income to shareholders as dividends. A dividend is defined as a payment made by a corporation to its shareholders.

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