Ex-Dividend Date Buying

Another strategy involves timing the purchase of stock right before the ex-dividend date. A stockholder has to own the stock prior to the closing of this date in order to earn a quarterly dividend, even though the dividend payment does not occur for up to a month later. So if you buy stock the day after ex-date, you will not earn a dividend until three months later.

This brings up an interesting timing strategy that even value investors can employ. For example, if a company has declared a dividend of $2.20 per share, every 100 shares earns $220 per year or $55 per quarter.
If you buy 100 shares before ex-date, you are entitled to that $55. The price per share may dip on ex-date to allow for this benefit, but if you have also qualified the stock as a long-term value investment, it makes sense to time your purchase in this manner.

Key Point

Timing purchase with ex-dividend date in mind increases dividend income in the fi rst quarter the position is owned.
Why wait three months before earning your first dividend when you could earn two quarterly dividends in the same time period? This doubles your dividend income in the first three months, just by being aware of the ex-date.

A related strategy is to reinvest dividends in the purchase of additional shares, which creates a compound return rather than a simple return based on dividend yield. Most brokerage accounts allow you to make this election at the time you purchase shares.

In all market strategies, you will also want to establish clear policies and goals for buying as well as for selling shares of stock. The basic goal of buying should be based on a complete analysis of a company's fundamentals (see Fundamental Analysis). If you wait for a price dip to buy shares, you are likely to get a short-term bounce on the price, which is a good start to a long-term hold.

Key Point

Knowing when to buy is an important skill. However, it is equally important to know when to sell.

It is equally important to know when to sell. Long-term buy-and-hold does not mean keeping a stock in your portfolio no matter what. Value investors need to continually monitor a company to ensure that it continues to meet the criteria for a value investment. As soon as a company's fundamental strength or profitability change, it is likely that stock prices will begin to decline. Recognizing the changes as soon as they begin gives you the chance to sell shares and find a new, stronger candidate. By monitoring the fundamental trends, you will be able to spot a reversal or leveling out of those trends, and to decide right away whether to continue holding or to sell.

Fundamental Analysis examines some of the more important fundamental indicators you need to track.
By Michael C. Thomsett
Michael Thomsett is a British-born American author who has written over 75 books covering investing, business and real estate topics.

Copyrighted 2016. Content published with author's permission.

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