What is a dividend?

Cheat Sheet:

  • A dividend is cold, hard cash some companies pay out to their shareholders.
  • Mature companies that make steady profits are more likely to pay dividends.

The way most people think of making money in the stock market is by buying low and selling high. For certain stocks, you can also make money just by holding the stock. These are called dividend stocks.

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Dividend Yield

Cheat Sheet:

  • Dividend yield tells you how generous a company’s dividend is.  You can use it to comparison shop.
  • The higher the company’s dividend yield, the more cash you’ll receive for every dollar you invest.
  • Older investors often use high dividend yield stocks as a steady source of income.

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Dividend Reinvestment

Cheat Sheet:

  • Using a dividend to buy more of that stock is called “dividend reinvestment.”
  • When you do this, you end up with more shares of stock instead of cash.

If a company issues a cash dividend, it will normally show up as cold, hard cash in your brokerage account. At some brokerages, you can buy more stock with the dividend for free so that you own more shares instead of holding extra cash.

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What is a stock split?

Cheat Sheet:

  • A stock split divides up the company into more shares so each share is more affordable.
  • The overall company’s value doesn’t change, nor does the total dollar amount of stock you own.
  • Stock splits are decided by the company’s board of directors.

Owning 1 share of stock worth $50 is the same thing as owning 2 shares worth $25 a piece, right?  A stock split divides the company into more shares so that each share is more affordable.

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What are earnings calls?

Cheat Sheet:

  • The earnings call is when a CEO explains the earnings report and what to expect for next quarter.
  • Companies use the call to highlight successes or calm fears, depending on the situation.
  • They answer questions from investors and analysts.

When companies announce earnings, they conduct an earnings call where the CFO and/or CEO explains why earnings came out the way they did and what to expect for the next quarter.  They also answer questions on the call from investors and analysts. Remember, the analysts are already trying to make predictions for the next quarter!

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