Finding a stock’s dividend history will help you find the best dividend stocks with a true commitment to shareholder cash return
You know we love dividend stock investing here on the blog. It’s pretty much the core of my own portfolio and I average over $500 in dividends every week.
But dividend investing is much more than just looking for those stocks with the highest yields. In fact, that’s usually the biggest trap for dividend investors.
To help you, I’m starting a series on the most important questions in dividend investing and how to find the best stocks to buy. We’ll start this week with finding the dividend history for a stock.
Why a Stock’s Dividend History is Important
One of the biggest mistakes an investor can make is taking all the current information of a stock at face value. Whether the share price has gone up recently, where it’s at compared to the 52-week range and other fundamental data is all great to know but it’s only a snapshot in time. To really know if that stock is a good investment, you need to look at the history of those numbers.
In no piece of stock information is this more true than the dividend history. You see that stock with a 20% dividend yield…that’s great but is it only because the stock price has plunged and the dividend hasn’t been cut yet? Did the company just recently start paying a dividend and how secure is it? A high dividend yield isn’t worth much if the company only rarely increases the dividend payment. You could be stuck with a dividend stock that isn’t much of a dividend stock in three years.
These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself when looking for dividend stocks to buy. For all this, you’ll need to find the stock’s dividend history.
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3 Ways to Find Dividend History
Unfortunately, no one source of dividend information usually gives you everything you need in exactly the way you need it. Some sites will show you the ex-dividend date while others show the payment date. Still other sites will show you dividend history on a chart while others will allow you to download the data.
I’ve put together three ways to find a stock’s dividend history below so you can use the one that works best for your needs.
Stock Dividend History on Yahoo
One of the fastest and most convenient ways to find a stock’s dividend history is on Yahoo and you can even download the dividend data for easy calculations.
We’ll use one of the most popular dividend stocks, Realty Income, as an example in our three ways to find dividend information. On Yahoo Finance, you go to the stock’s ticker page and click on Historical Data in the menu.
On this page, you can change the ‘Time Period’ and then click to show Dividend History and click apply. This will show you the date and amount of every dividend over that period. You can download the information into an excel file to calculate dividend growth and total annual payments.
Dividend History on a Company’s Investor Relations Page
When in doubt, go straight to the source! When I need information on a stock, the first place I look is the company’s own investor relations page. This part of their website usually includes investor presentations, financial reports, news and dividend information.
Find the investor’s page by searching on Google for the company name + ‘investor relations’. Companies may have their dividend payment information under different categories but it’s almost always there to download. For example, for Realty Income, you scroll down the left sidebar menu to see ‘Stock Information’ and within that, ‘Dividend Payment Information’.
Here you can download an excel file of the stock’s dividend history, find out how long the company has paid dividends and how often it increases the dividend.
Find a Stock’s Dividend History on any Investing App
You can also find a stock’s dividend history including payments on most investing apps. I’ll use ETrade because it’s the platform I use for most of my dividend investing but the process will be the same.
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You first go to the stock’s page by entering the symbol or searching for it on the app. From there you look for Charts in the menu and select the timeframe for which you want to find dividends.
To add the dividend payments to the chart, you expand the ‘Company Events’ section and click to show dividends. This will show each dividend payment date and the amount. Just hover over the chart with your mouse and record the dividends.
There are several ways to find a stock’s dividend history online. Some will give you more detailed information while other sources might give you a summary. Which dividend information source you use depends on what you want to do with the data. Check out the ways to research dividend stocks above and see if one works for you.
Don’t Miss the Entire Dividend Stocks Series