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Key Factors

  • Dividend seize is a method the place short-term traders purchase shares earlier than the ex-dividend date and promote on or after the ex-dividend date.
  • Dividend seize permits traders to obtain dividend payouts with out holding the inventory long-term.
  • Buyers utilizing dividend seize should issue taxes and transaction prices into their evaluation earlier than buying and selling.
  • 5 shares we like higher than 3M

Dividends are generally regarded as a reward for long-term traders. Each quarter, sure public firms pay out dividends to their shareholders, who can then use them as revenue or reinvest them again into the corporate. However, since firm inventory solely must be held for a day for dividend eligibility, many short-term merchants wish to play a sport known as “seize the dividend.” 

By using a dividend seize technique, traders with short-time horizons can obtain payouts with out worrying concerning the inventory’s long-term prospects.

Understanding the dividend seize technique 

Also called dividend harvesting or dividend scalping, the dividend seize technique allows day or swing merchants to profit with no need to carry the underlying inventory long run. Dividend seize is a short-term buying and selling technique geared toward reaping revenue from the dividend of blue-chip or high-yield shares via well timed entry and exits. Since a inventory solely must be held for a day to obtain the dividend, artful merchants can bounce out and in of shares and nonetheless get rewarded.

Earlier than reviewing how this dividend technique works, it is necessary to be clear concerning the position dividends play in a portfolio. Dividends are extra parts of an organization’s web earnings. The corporate can both reinvest its further earnings into the agency or reward them to shareholders via dividend payouts. Dividends often come from established firms that are not aiming at accelerating progress or increasing market share, which is why older blue chip shares are inclined to pay the best dividends.

How does the dividend seize technique work?

Dividend seize is when an investor buys a inventory earlier than its ex-dividend date after which sells it on or after the ex-dividend date. To successfully execute this technique, you have to perceive the dividend calendar. This tells you the way a lot the dividend might be and when you’ll obtain the payout. The ex-dividend date (described within the subsequent part) is the crucial day to pay attention to when utilizing this technique.

You solely want to carry the inventory in a single day on the day earlier than the ex-dividend date to obtain the payout. Should you want to promote the inventory quickly after the morning bell on the ex-dividend date, you are able to do so and can nonetheless obtain the dividend on the payout date. For the reason that holding interval for dividend eligibility is a single day (in actuality, solely a handful of hours), short-term merchants can time their shopping for and promoting choices to coincide with the dividend calendar of their most well-liked firms.

Dividend timeline

Earlier than shopping for any shares, you may must make a dividend seize technique calendar. Your calendar will encompass the 4 main dates on the dividend calendar:

  • Declaration date: On the declaration date, firms announce when the following dividend might be paid (if any) and the way a lot the payout might be. The declaration date additionally declares the date of report, or when traders have to be on the books for dividend eligibility. 
  • Ex-dividend date: The date of report will get introduced earlier than the ex-dividend date (or ex-date), however the ex-dividend date comes first sequentially. The ex-dividend date is a very powerful date on the calendar for traders since they need to personal the inventory earlier than today to obtain the dividend. The date of report is likely to be when traders’ names go within the books, however the ex-dividend date is the cutoff set by exchanges. The ex-dividend date happens a day or two earlier than the date of report to permit trades to settle, and the corporate can assess the right possession stakes.
  • Date of report: On the date of report, the corporate paying the dividend will notice which traders are eligible to obtain it. The date of report happens after the ex-dividend date to permit commerce settlement to happen. Buyers must take no motion on the report date; it is merely for firm bookkeeping.
  • Payout date: Lastly, the dividend payout hits brokerage accounts on the payout date. The payout date comes from the corporate issuing the dividend, however an investor doesn’t must personal shares on this date to get the dividend. Shares might have modified arms a number of instances between the ex-dividend date and the payout, however the investor who owned the shares at closing time the day earlier than the ex-dividend date will get the payout.

Instance of how you can use the dividend seize technique

This is an instance of this dividend technique. As an instance you wish to seize the dividend for the 3M Firm NYSE: MMM and the United Parcel Service Inc. NYSE: UPS. Each firms are blue-chip shares with a protracted historical past of elevating dividend payouts, which makes them preferrred securities for dividend buying and selling.

First, you may want to take a look at the dividend calendar for each firms. Should you’re utilizing a dividend seize technique, you may wish to know all 4 key dates, particularly the ex-dividend date and the payout date. The ex-dividend date tells you when you need to personal the shares, and the payout date tells you when to anticipate your reward to hit your brokerage account. Gazing on the calendar, you discover that MMM has an ex-dividend date of February 16, and UPS has an ex-dividend date of February 17. Then, you discover that UPS has a payout date of February 28, whereas 3M does not pay till March 10. (You should utilize MarketBeat’s dividend screener to discover a complete record of those dates.)

To make the most of this dividend technique, you should buy shares of MMM on February 15 and maintain them in a single day. On the ringing of the opening bell on February 16, you possibly can promote your MMM shares and use the proceeds to purchase UPS shares. So long as you maintain the UPS shares via shut, you are eligible to obtain each dividends, though you’ve got solely held every inventory for a single day. Notice that good religion violations (GFV) can happen in case you purchase and promote shares with unsettled funds, so it’s possible you’ll want to carry the UPS shares past a single day to keep away from getting dinged by a GFV.

The right way to construct a profitable dividend seize portfolio

Alternatively, has a 0.37 beta, that means it is much less unstable than the S&P 500. It might not pay as excessive a dividend as Kohl’s, however the shares are secure, and analysts level to potential upside. A conservative investor in search of regular dividends and secure inventory costs would probably desire proudly owning DG over KSS. KSS matches extra into the everyday short-term dividend seize playbook.

Danger administration in dividend seize

Managing threat is all the time essential, however dividend buying and selling utilizing the dividend seize technique requires strict consideration. You possibly can’t ‘set it and neglect it’ if you wish to undertake a real dividend seize technique since long-term revenue or capital appreciation isn’t the objective. Inventory choice is paramount, and whereas dividends are predictable, the market has methods of throwing wrenches into rigorously laid buying and selling plans. Listed below are a couple of key threat components that dividend seize traders should take below advisement.

  • Lacking ex-dividend dates: Dividend seize requires understanding a number of dates, and in case you don’t personal shares earlier than the ex-dividend date, you don’t get the payout. Be sure to maintain monitor of each the ex-date and the payout date.
  • Market threat: Think about you get a 2% dividend yield on an organization that pays quarterly, which suggests your dividend fee might be equal to 0.5% of the share worth. However what if the inventory drops 1% the day earlier than the ex-dividend date? You’ll wind up dropping cash on the commerce if the inventory drops greater than the dividend payout whereas the shares are in your possession (and you need to maintain in a single day no less than as soon as to get the dividend).
  • Tax threat: You don’t must personal the inventory lengthy to get the dividend, however you do must personal it for no less than 2 months as a way to get the most effective tax remedy in your dividends. Should you don’t personal the inventory for greater than 60 days, your dividend payout might be taxed as common revenue, not capital good points.

Timing is every thing: Greatest practices for dividend seize

A lot of investing comes right down to timing. For instance, in case you started investing within the Nineteen Eighties, you loved a number of many years of falling charges, which helped increase inventory returns. Should you started investing in 2005, you might need been eternally scarred by the monetary disaster in 2007. Timing is a very powerful consider dividend seize since you have to personal shares on particular days. Hold the following tips in thoughts when making an attempt this funding technique.

  1. Construct a dividend calendar. MarketBeat instruments just like the ex-dividend calendar may also help you monitor all upcoming dates.
  2. Know your capital limitations. You’ll have to carry in a single day no less than as soon as to get the dividend, however you additionally received’t get the payout straight away. At all times know when your payouts are due so that you don’t run into money circulate issues.
  3. Plan for taxes. You’ll probably be receiving unqualified dividends, which suggests revenue tax and never capital good points taxes. At all times put aside sufficient capital to pay Uncle Sam; tax penalties can negate an excellent chunk of your funding good points. 

Tax implications of the dividend seize technique 

Taxes signify one of many downsides of the dividend seize technique. Not all dividends are created equal: they are often . A certified dividend is eligible for the preferential capital good points tax charges, which could be 0%, 15% or 20%, relying in your revenue. Unqualified dividends are topic to peculiar revenue tax charges, which could be as excessive as 39% in case you’re within the high tax bracket. 

Execs and cons of the dividend seize technique

Listed below are a couple of advantages and disadvantages of deploying a dividend seize technique:


First, the professionals: 

  • Easy technique: Dividend seize buying and selling does not require an in depth understanding of firm steadiness sheets or fundamentals, nor should you be an skilled on deciphering chart patterns. Little or no market analysis is important to make use of dividend seize; you need to pay attention to the calendar and the payout quantities.
  • Needn’t commit capital long-term: Merchants utilizing this dividend technique can stay day or swing merchants and nonetheless obtain the payout. Since shares solely should be held for a day to get dividends, no long-term capital dedication is required to orchestrate all these trades. 
  • Constant and instant rewards: Dividend seize methods are comparatively predictable in comparison with different types of short-term buying and selling. The dates you need to purchase shares are identified nicely upfront, and the corporate all the time declares the dividend payout quantity nicely earlier than the ex-dividend date. In contrast to a field of candies, precisely what you may get with dividend seize.


Subsequent, the downsides:

  • Not tax environment friendly: Except you maintain the inventory for 60 days, dividends are labeled “unqualified” and taxed at your peculiar revenue charge. Irrespective of your revenue degree, the peculiar charge will all the time be much less pleasant than the capital good points charge.
  • Market compensates for dividends: Mr. Market is conscious of the dividend seize technique and regularly enjoys throwing a wrench into the gears. For the reason that ex-dividend date is understood nicely upfront, shares are inclined to underperform on that day since consumers are not eligible for the fee. Should you earn a 2% dividend, however the inventory falls by 2% on the ex-date, you are solely breaking even (or worse, contemplating transaction prices).
  • Might underperform typical buy-and-hold strategies: Seize strategies are straightforward dividend buying and selling methods to grasp however difficult to grasp. You will not get preferential tax remedy and will even lose cash if the inventory drops precipitously on the ex-dividend date. Dividend seize is more practical throughout bull markets than bear markets, however there is no promise of outperforming buy-and-hold traders even then.

Widespread pitfalls and how you can keep away from them

The most typical pitfall of a dividend seize technique is lacking the ex-dividend date. As has been talked about a number of instances, in case you do not personal shares on the ex-dividend date, you will not get the dividend. Happily, that is additionally the best to keep away from. MarketBeat offers a dividend screener and an ex-divided calculator that offer you two methods to maintain monitor of when a inventory trades ex-dividend. 

One other widespread pitfall is selecting a inventory that drops after the ex-dividend date. Doing so may trigger you to take a loss. Whereas this threat is unimaginable to keep away from altogether, you possibly can have a look at an organization’s inventory chart to get a way of the form of worth motion that typically happens across the ex-dividend date. In some instances, shares observe predictable patterns. 

Dividend seize might not outperform different strategies

Dividend seize could be an efficient short-term buying and selling technique in sure markets, however it’s not a plan to achieve long-term wealth. Dividend harvesting can present regular and dependable revenue with out worrying an excessive amount of about unstable market gyrations or complicated technical evaluation. Nevertheless, dividend seize methods are very tax inefficient and are not confirmed to outperform the long-term strategies of typical dividend traders.


Listed below are a couple of regularly requested questions on dividend seize methods:

Are you able to become profitable with dividend seize?

With cautious planning and well timed buying and selling, dividend seize could be an efficient income-producing technique for short-term investments like day buying and selling or swing buying and selling.

How efficient is dividend seize?

The effectiveness of dividend seize is debatable. In some markets, you possibly can seize the dividend with out the inventory struggling an excessive amount of of a success on the ex-dividend date. However in declining markets, the dividend payout is likely to be negated by the inventory worth dropping on the ex-date. 

How is the dividend seize technique taxed?

Because you maintain shares bought utilizing dividend seize methods for less than a day or two, the payouts might be topic to the investor’s peculiar revenue degree. It’s essential to maintain the inventory for no less than 60 days to obtain the extra helpful capital good points charge, which is just too lengthy to lock up capital for a lot of short-term merchants.

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