The dividend rate is the amount of cash returned by a company to its stockholders on an annual basis as a percentage of the market value of the company. The cash returned to investors is called a dividend, hence the term dividend rate.
The dividend rate is the annual dividend on a single stock divided by the current market price of that stock.
Dividends can vary greatly across companies and industries. Mature companies pay higher dividends than growing companies.
An increase in a company’s dividend rate sends a positive signal to the market about the company’s stock.
Dividend Rate Formula
The dividend rate can be described as the amount of cash received by a shareholder, divided by the market value of the stock held by that shareholder. On a per-share basis, the dividend rate is the amount of annual dividend per stock, divided by the current price of the stock.
Dividend Rate = Dividend Per Share / Current Share Price
Dividend Rate Example
As of July 1, 2020, Boeing Co. distributes dividends of $2.055 per share every quarter. It adds up to an annual dividend of $8.22. The current price of Boeing’s stock is $180.32. Based on the formula above, if you divide the annual dividend per share of $8.22 by the current market price per share of $180.32, you get a dividend rate of 4.56%.
A dividend rate of 4.56% implies that every investor would receive annual dividends equal to 4.56% of the market value of Boeing’s stock held by them. So, if an investor holds 100 stocks of Boeing, the market value of stock held by that investor is $18,032, and the investor would receive 4.56% of that value annually in the form of dividends from the company. It amounts to an annual dividend amount of $822.
Companies With the Highest Dividend Rates
Variance in Dividend Rates
Dividend rates can vary greatly across companies and industries. For example, mature companies in an industry, such as basic materials, would most likely provide investors with higher dividend rates as opposed to fast-growing technology companies.
It is the case because of limited options for mature companies to invest cash into further expansion or capital projects; hence, they choose to give back some of the cash to its shareholders. However, a high-growth company would want to use all available cash to fuel its strong growth and would likely not provide its shareholders with a dividend.
Signaling Effect of Dividend Rates
A high dividend rate provides two clear and distinct signals to the market. First, it indicates that the management believes in the company’s ability to generate steady cash flow from its operations for the foreseeable future. Second, it indicates that management faces limited options in terms of expansion and growth.
A declaration of a dividend or an increase in a dividend is generally seen as positive signals by the market because even if there’s not much room for the company to grow, a high dividend reduces the agency problem.
Tax Implications of Dividends
Most countries tax dividends. It is sometimes viewed as double taxation since the corporation is taxed based on the net income generated, and then the individual shareholders receiving the dividends are taxed as well.
The tax on capital gains and the tax on dividends are generally not the same. Except for a few countries – such as Spain, Finland, and Estonia, among others – the capital gains tax is usually lower than the tax on dividends.