- Dividend Dates

Most companies when talking about their quarterly dividend will say something like:

"...will pay $0.115 per share on March 23, 2016 to shareholders of record on March 2, 2016." (from my Nvidia analysis)

Most people go "Ah! So if I buy Nvidia stock on March 2, I will get a nice little dividend on March 23.". At least that's what I thought and, as is usually the case with such things, that's not quite right. See trades take time to settle, etc but basically you have to typically purchase the stock at least three business days before the shareholders of record date, making the buy by date Feb 28 (2016 is a leap year so Feb 29 exists!).

Here are the dates you need to keep in mind:

Declaration Date 
When the dividend is declared by the company : Feb 2, 2016

Record Date 
By when you must be on the company's books as a shareholder to receive the dividend: Mar 2, 2016

Ex-Dividend Date
The day before which you need to buy the stock to be eligible for the dividend. Typically 2 business days before the Record Date: Feb 29, 2016

Buy By Date
The last day to buy the stock to be eligible for the dividend. Typically one business day before the ex-dividend date, making it 3 business days before the record date: Feb 28, 2016.

Take a look at the SEC site for more details: SEC Ex-Dividend Dates

For upcoming dividends, here's a great Nasdaq Calendar.