Thursday, 2 February 2012

Ex Dividend Dates for the UK

Those of us who have continued investing in these dark days of zero interest rate policy, recession doom and gloom, eurozone collapse, and imminent war against <insert this weeks middle eastern country who has lots of oil but an unpleasant leadership we don't get on with here> have generally tried to move our investing into higher dividend earning stocks and so-called defensives. Defensive stocks are companies that can continue to make money during a recession. Basically government protected utilities and consumer staples. They might retain your capital but are generally not considered to earn much - think of them as the bonds of the stock market. Safe but boring.

Higher yielding stocks though can hopefully supplement your income while we wait for the world to right itself. If you pick them right using stock filters at iii, digital look, stockopedia, or wherever, then you should be able to build a High Yielding Portfolio (HYP) that can deliver more income than the interest rate provided by your local bunch of thieving, lying, corrupt, b*****ds financial institutions.

There's plenty of posts on the internet about setting up a HYP - Motley Fool Guide, Monevator Guide, Dividend Growth Stocks Guide. And they offer good advice, but one thing you should consider is when dividends are going to be paid. Invest after the dividend payment has been paid for the year and that amazing yield won't be arriving until next year for you. You can use the timings to your advantage though - should you be able to invest large enough sums, you could jump in and out of stocks throughout the year stealing their high dividends away and investing your increased capital in the next upcoming high dividend share. This is what a new service called DividendMax is attempting to do. You can check their progress here: GeneratorMax performance and the transactions they make here. Looks promising. Of course you have to pay for their service...

Anyway finding when shares are going to go Ex-Dividend (the date you must own the share in order to be entitled to the upcoming dividend payment) is a fairly tricky task. There's a couple of sites that can help though.

Firstly, Money AM has their Forward Diary which allows you to look at the financial events for the current day, week or month ahead. At the bottom of the list of events going on is the upcoming ex-dividend dates and the amount they are going to pay. It's a bit of a kerfuffle getting the information but it is there and is better than most free sites.

However, a much better site is Ex Dividend Date. This is completely obvious and easy to use. Just one page of the upcoming few weeks' ex-dividend dates with the payment amount and projected yield. Totally useful, totally brilliant. All for free. Dive in and start picking shares to own that pay you for owning them.