A dividend is the sum apportioned periodically, in the shape of profit or interest, to holders of stocks and shares. It may be a fixed sum according to the rate of interest, as in the case of the Funds, Colonial Stocks, &c., or a varying sum according to the profits made, as in the case of railway shares and those of other companies. The dividends on the Funds and some Colonial Stocks are paid quarterly, at the beginning of January, April, July, and October. A month prior to the date of payment the stocks are marked "ex-div.," meaning that any purchase effected after the 1st December, 1st March, 1st June, and 1st September, would not carry that quarter's dividend, as it is held in favour of the person whose name is registered on the books on those dates.

The interest dependent upon the shares or stocks of companies is usually paid half-yearly, after the periodical meeting, when the accounts are presented and the profits declared. A certain date is fixed when these shares and stocks are saleable "ex-div." or "ex-interest."