When a company declares a dividend, it sets a record date when an investor must be on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the dividend. Once the company sets the record date, the stock exchanges or the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. fix the ex-dividend date. The ex-dividend date is normally set for stocks two business days before the record date.
You get the dividend if you purchased a stock before the ex-dividend date. If you purchased the stock on its ex-dividend date or after, you will not receive the next dividend payment. Instead, it is the seller who gets the dividend.
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