If you want to be eligible for a dividend payment, or if you're hoping a share price might drop disproportionately when the time has passed, you need to be aware of your ex-dividend dates -- as long as you hold the shares up to and including that day, you'll get your money.
GlaxoSmithKline released first-quarter results on 24 April, and announced a dividend of 18p per share. That's a rise of 6% over the same period last year, and is part of a programme of returning cash to shareholders -- the pharmaceuticals giant is also targeting share repurchases of £1-2 billion.
A similar percentage rise in the firm's dividends over the full year would result in a total payment of approximately 78p per share, for a yield of 4.7% on the current share price of 1,658p.
The mining sector might be under some pressure these days, but that hasn't stopped Antofagasta from offering a nice dividend for the 2012 full year. Although the ordinary dividend of 21 cents per share announced on 12 March only represents a yield of 1.5% on today's share price of 909p, there is also a special dividend of 77.5 cents per share to be paid, taking the total for the year to 98.5 cents for a yield of 6.9%.
The previous year's dividend payment was similarly split, but with an ordinary dividend of 20 cents and a special dividend of 24 cents per share for 2011, the total payout for 2012 is up 124%.
On 26 March, Kingfisher announced a final dividend of 6.37p per share, unchanged from the same period last year. But an earlier 25% rise in the interim dividend to 3.09p takes Kingfisher's overall payment for the year to 9.46p per share. That's a rise of 7%, and represents a yield of 3% on today's 320p share price.
The boost comes despite the fact that a 2.4% drop in sales for the owner of the UK's B&Q and Screwfix brands led to an 11.4% fall in adjusted pre-tax profit and an 11.2% fall in adjusted earnings per share. But the dividend was more than twice-covered, and there is a return to earnings forecast for the current year.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.