One day later, and we're still blown away by the effect of Apple's dividend announcement upon stock prices.
Here's why. This is the only time we've ever observed stock prices leading a change in expected future dividend payments since we began regularly tracking dividend futures in December 2008!
Most often, we either see changes in the expected future for dividends lead changes in stock prices, or alternatively, stock prices reacting to the effect of noise events that are of limited duration - with the most significant one being the reaction of stock prices to the Federal Reserve's first quantitative easing program.
But this marks the first time in the years we've been watching dividend futures that the metaphorical cart actually led the horse!
To mark the occasion, we've animated the "before" and "after" view of the future for both stock prices and dividends per share for the S&P 500 as it relates to Apple's 19 March 2012 dividend announcement. (Click the links above for larger, clearer versions of the image frames.)
Here, we can see why investors would seem to have been focused on the expected dividend futures connected to the third quarter of 2012 in setting stock prices - with Apple's first dividend since 1995 to be paid out in July 2012, that event falls in the period covered by the dividend futures contracts for 2012-Q3.
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