If an investor owns a stock on the ex-dividend date, the investor is entitled to receive the dividend and it will be deposited in her investment account on the payment date. The day before the ex-dividend date is the last day to buy the stock and still receive the dividend. Corporations are under no obligation to stick to a specific schedule for dividend date so an investor must do a little research and watch the news.
Determine the approximate dividend declaration dates of the stocks for which you want the ex-dividend dates. The best resource for this information is the news release listing on the investor page of the company's website. Most companies pay dividends four times a year and there will be a news or earnings release that announces the pertinent dividend dates.
Read the dividend news announcements and make note of the date of the announcement, dividend record date and dividend payment date. The announcements are at approximately the same time each year. An important piece of information is the time between the dividend announcement and the record date.
Watch the company's news releases for the next dividend announcement. It will be a date close to previous years. Read the dividend announcement and note the dividend record date.
Calculate the ex-dividend date. The ex-dividend date is two business days before the record date. Do not count weekends and holidays.
Most companies offer email notification of press releases. Sign up on the investor page of the website to get the news as soon as it is released. There are websites that give ex-dividend information for a fee. The provide some information for free, but a paid subscription is required for most of the information. The value of the stock drops on the ex-dividend date by the amount of the dividend.
No dividend is guaranteed or paid on a specific date until it is declared by a company's board of directors. Do not assume a stock will go ex-dividend on a specific date without reading the specific dividend declaration.