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I really need some help understanding shares.

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foreigncorrespondent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-03-11 09:04 AM
Original message
I really need some help understanding shares.
My grandmother passed away just over a year ago. Several months later I learned that I am a beneficiary in her will. Well on Monday I received the holding statement that was issued on the 19 of this month. What I want to know is, this particular company (BHP Billiton) paid out the quarterly dividends in March, what happens to me? Do they still pay me for that now, or does it get included in the next quarterly payment?

Also how are the dividends worked out? What percentage per dollar invested, do they pay?

Help please... I am pulling my hair out trying to find answers, while I wait for an appointment with a local financial planner.
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A HERETIC I AM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-11 03:31 AM
Response to Original message
1. Dividends are paid as a specific dollar amount per share.
Edited on Thu May-05-11 03:32 AM by A HERETIC I AM
You can find out what the quote for BHP is on numerous sites, such as Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, Reuters, and Google Finance among others.

You may notice that the quote for the dividend is different for some of those pages. Some quote the dividend dollar amount on a quarterly basis and others quote it on an annual basis. It looks as if BHP normally pays dividends twice a year.

When you see the "Yield" what that means is the amount paid is relative to the current share price. In other words, if you have a stock at $10.00/share and it yields 10% then it pays $1.00 per year in dividends. If the dividend stays the same but the share price is bid up to - say $20.00/share, the yield is now .5%

See?

Yield changes all the time as the share price fluctuates as well as when and if the company increases or decreases the dividend amount.

BHP is currently paying $1.84 per share in dividends on an annual basis. The current share price is $96.20 so $1.84 is 1.89% of the share price.

Dividends aren't really a "percentage of dollar invested" per se. It is a specified amount paid per share.

Here is the relevant page from BHP's website;
http://www.bhpbilliton.com/bb/investorsMedia/shareholde...
The last dividend paid was on March 31st and depending on how the account that holds that shares is set up, the dividend will either be paid in cash - meaning a cash balance will be credited, or it will automatically buy more shares. The Broker who manages the account can tell you this.

Hope that helps a little.
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