SPY went ex-dividend Friday, September 18th, 2020 with a dividend of $1.339 per share. The economic consequences of COVID-19 had a significant impact on the June dividend and that reduction in dividend payout continues. SPY’s distribution payout will be on October 30th—yes the SPDR folks take their time delivering the dividend. iShares’ IVV, one of the other two big S&P 500 ETFs, went ex-dividend on the 23rd of September with a dividend of $1.506 per share. Vanguard’s VOO went ex-dividend on the 29th of September with a dividend of $1.309 per share. VOO and IVV are much faster to distribute the dividends—both payout within a week of their ex-dividend dates. IVV and VOO reinvest dividends into their constituent stocks until the payout date arrives. SPY is restricted by its Unit Investment Trust legal structure to hold dividends in cash until they are paid out.
SPY is the largest ETF in the world, currently with $299 billion in assets under management. The next two largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 are iShare’s IVV and Vanguard’s VOO—currently with $195 billion and $159 billion in assets respectively. The table below summarizes dividend information for SPY, IVV, and VOO. Vanguard only publishes ex-dividend dates a few days prior to the event itself, so future dates for VOO are just estimates. Reference data for SPY and IVV dividends can be found here.
|Ticker||Next Ex-dividend||Next Pay date||June Dividend||September Dividend|
You only have to buy a stock or ETF the day prior to its ex-dividend date to be eligible for the dividend. You can sell on the ex-dividend date if you want and still collect the dividend when the distribution/pay date arrives. Be aware that in a flat market the stock or ETF at market open on its ex-dividend date will typically drop in value by the dividend amount. See Top 10 questions on Dividends if you have more questions.
|SPY, IVV, VOO 2020 Ex-Dividend Dates|
|SPY||20-Mar-20||19-Jun-20||18-Sep-20||18-Dec-20||30-Dec-20 (potential cap gains)|
|IVV||25-Mar-20||15-Jun-20||23-Sep-20||14-Dec-20||30-Dec-20 (potential cap gains)|
|Pay / Distribution Dates|
For more information about ex-dividend and distribution dates for SPDR, iShares, Schwab, and Vanguard ETFs see this post. See the chart below for SPY’s dividend history since 2015.
One phenomenon associated with ex-dividend dates of stocks/exchange-traded products is the possibility of option early assignment. When a stock goes ex-dividend the traded value of the stock typically drops by about the amount of the dividend. For the stockholder of record, the overall value of their investment stays constant because they are eligible for the dividend, which will be paid out at a later date. However, holders of long call options do not get compensated for the drop in value due to the dividend. This loss is most significant for soon-to-expire options that are in the money. To avoid this foreseeable loss, call holders will usually either exit their positions or exercise their options (assuming they are American style) to obtain the stock and its associated dividend. If you are short these same call options into the ex-dividend date you will likely find yourself option-less with a short position in the underlying security, or minus your shares if you were a covered call writer. Unless this was your intent you should probably close out your short positions or roll them to a later date / higher strike before the ex-dividend date. For more on this topic see Short Call Assignment Before Ex-Dividend.
Updated August 23, 2020
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