In speaking to people who are learning the ropes in investing one comment I get a lot of is, there’s a lot to know when it comes to stock market investing. This is the unavoidable truth of stock market investing if you don’t care about the results you get then you don’t need to know anything. If you are contented with average results then you will get away with average knowledge. If you want great results you will either have to possess great knowledge or pay for it. Nothing wrong with paying an advisor for it but what you know remains with you. So when we look at such knowledge there are dates you must know for listed companies you choose to or intend to invest in.
The full-year or year-end date is the date which as the name suggests marks the last day of the company’s financial year. The date is not important in and of itself as companies have different full-year dates though some in finance are required to have December year ends. What’s important is to count 3 months from this date. Listed companies are required to provide audited financial statements within 3 months of this date. In covid 19 times, the ZSE has allowed companies up to 5 months to publish results. While we wait for the results we are in what’s called the closed period. Remember financial statement updates come with dividends and earnings updates which affect the prices of shares. The table below shows the distribution of year-end dates for ZSE listed companies.
Half Year date
In addition to full-year dates, we also need to know half-year dates. For much the same reason as the full year dates. Current best practice on the ZSE is to provide Half-year (HY) financial statements though they need not be audited. These statements will contain information on the business performance and changes in earnings per share which will impact the price. They do not have a required publishing period but you can expect them 2 to 3 months after the Half Year date.
Quarter Year date
Quarterly updates are also very important for us to know when it comes to the companies we invest in. Current practice on the ZSE is to publish a trading update for the 1st quarter and 3rd quarter. Companies are free to include any form of financial statements they wish to here so the approach differs. QY dates will teach us to look out for these updates as they contain information on how the business is doing.
Annual General Meeting date
Annual General Meetings(AGMs) are meetings used to exercise shareholder power and where the board seeks approval from shareholders. There are many things the board must seek the approval of shareholders on including changes in board membership, changes in Audit Firm and dividends. Investors are invited to participate in AGMs either personally or through a public call-out. AGMs have notices before they are held that show the agenda of the AGM and the matters to be voted on. This lets us know a lot about the plans of the company going forward and if they plan to pay an interim dividend.
This is more for the dividend hunters but it is still useful information to everyone interested or invested in a company. Dividends are announced with some important dates attached to them. You can read about the dividend notice and its contents in full detail here, we will just gloss over the idea. The most important date to know when it comes to a company dividend announcement is the record date or ex-div date (or last day), which is the day the names of shareholders will be recorded for dividend distribution. Buying after this date will not entitle you to the dividend when it is paid. You will also want to know the payment date of course.