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Related to ex-dividend date: Record date
The first day of trading when the buyer of a stock is no longer entitled to the most recently announced dividend payment ( i.e. the trade will settle the day after the record date, too late for the buyer to appear on the shareholder record and receive the dividend.) The date set by the NYSE (and generally followed on other U.S. exchanges) is currently two business days before the record date. A stock that has gone ex-dividend is denoted by an x in newspaper listings on that date.
The date on which any dividend on a stock that has been declared but not distributed belongs legally to the seller, rather than the buyer. That is, when one sells a stock on or after the ex-dividend date, it will go to the seller when the next dividend comes. On the other hand, if it is sold before the ex-dividend date, the dividend will go to the buyer.
The first day of trading when the seller, rather than the buyer, of a stock will be entitled to the most recently announced dividend payment. The length of time ensuing between the ex-dividend date and the date of actual payment may be up to a month.