What is MJSD (March, June, September, and December)?
MJSD is an acronym that stands for the months of March, June, September, and December. The months are the final months of the four annual quarters for releasing financial earnings and declaring dividends. Public companies operating in the United States are required to file quarterly earnings reports (10-Q reports) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Public companies must file their 10-Q during the last month of the first three quarters of the year and then an annual report (10-K) that includes all the quarters of the year. Other reporting month combinations include JAJO (January, April, July, and October) and FMAN (February, May, August and November).
- MJSD is an acronym for March, June, September, and December.
- It is one of the three annual cycles in which options contracts are assigned.
- Each of the four months in the MJSD cycle represents the closing month of each of the four quarters for financial reporting.
Quarters 1, 2, 3 and 4
A quarter refers to one-fourth of a year, which equals three months of a company’s financial calendar. Each quarter acts as a basis for preparing periodic financial reports, as well as paying dividends to shareholders. However, not all companies will follow the financial calendar quarters, and it is common for them to adopt fiscal quarters ending in other months. For example, Walmart’s Q1 occurs in February, March, and April, whereas Apple’s first quarter starts from October to December.
The standard financial calendar quarters are as follows:
- Q1: January, February, and March
- Q2: April, May, and June
- Q3: July, August, and September
- Q4: October, November, and December
MJSD takes the last month of each of the quarters above. A new earnings season begins one month after the close of each quarter, and the earnings are released at the start of the new earnings quarter, i.e., January, April, July, and October. Some companies may take longer to release earnings after a busy month, but it is uncommon to find companies releasing earnings in the middle of the earnings season.
How Quarterly Reports Are Used
When the quarterly reports are published, investors and analysts rely on the available information to make comparisons and analyze performance trends. Investors can compare the current quarter’s performance to the same quarter in the previous year to determine how the company is performing, and use that information to decide whether or not to invest in it. Analysts may also evaluate the company’s quarterly performance to understand how it is performing in relation to other competing firms in the industry.
The release of a company’s earnings report also tends to affect the value of its stocks. If the company reported improved earnings compared to the previous period, the value of the stock will increase, attracting more investors. Similarly, a fall in earnings will result in a decline in the value of the company’s stock.
MJSD in Derivatives (Options Series)
Most investors in option contracts are aware that the MJSD option series expire during the months of March, June, September, and December. An options series comprises options that are based on the same underlying security and expiration dates but with different strike prices. The option listings are associated with option cycles, which determine the expiration dates of the options. A listed option can be assigned any of the following cycles:
- Cycle 1: January, April, July, and October
- Cycle 2: February, May, August, and November
- Cycle 3: March, June, September, and December
The expiration date is the last date when derivatives such as options or futures contracts are valid. Before or on the last trading day, investors must take a position on what to do with the expiring position. For example, an investor can exercise the options contract and close the position to earn a profit or loss. They retain the contract and require their representative broker to sell the underlying asset of the derivative.
If an investor does nothing after the expiration, and the option they hold is out of the money, then the options contract will expire worthless. Options with an automatic exercise provision are exercised automatically if they are in the money at the expiration date. If the investor does not want the option excised automatically, they must close out the position before or on the last trading day.
MJSD in Dividend Cycles
Most companies distribute dividends to their shareholders at the end of every quarter when releasing their quarterly earnings results, although there are a few that pay dividends monthly. The dividend cycle begins on the declaration date, which is the date when the board of directors notifies the shareholders that the company will pay a dividend, the amount of cash dividends, and the date when the distribution will be done.
Companies that make quarterly dividend distributions make payments in the following months:
- JAJO: January, April, July, and October
- FMAN: February, May, August, and November.
- MJSD: March, June, September, and December
The dividend cycle assists investors to structure their dividend income for the year. Some companies may alter the dividend payment period from one month to the next if the payment date falls on a weekend and is the last day of the month.
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