There is obviously soem confusion as to when you must own the stock in order to get the dividend. Maybe the following explanation from www.exdividend.com will help: The key date to remember for dividend paying stocks is the ex-dividend date
When are you entitled to stock and cash dividends
Have you ever bought a stock only to find out later that you were not entitled to the next cash or stock dividend paid by the company? Determine whether you should get cash and most stock dividends, by looking at two important dates. They are the "record date" or "date of record" and the "ex-dividend date" or "ex-date."
When a company declares a dividend, it sets a record date when you must be on the company's books as a shareholder to receive the dividend. Companies also use this date to determine who is sent proxy statements, financial reports, and other information.
Once the company sets the record date, the stock exchanges or the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. fix the ex-dividend date. The ex-dividend date is normally set for stocks two business days before the record date. Purchase a stock on its ex-dividend date or after and you will not receive the next dividend payment. Instead, the seller gets the dividend. Purchase before the ex-dividend date, and you get the dividend.
The Record Date, or Date of Record determines the Ex-dividend date, when you must own the stock.
In order for you to receive the upcoming dividend you must already own or you must purchase the stock prior to the ex-dividend date.
It is important to know when you buy or sell stock, there is a three-day settlement (three stock trading days) on all buy or sell orders.
Here is an example: The ex-dividend date is two stock business days prior to the record date. To be a stockholder on the Record Date you must purchase the stock before the ex-dividend date. The latest date you can buy the stock to be a stockholder on record and be entitled to the dividend would be one day prior to the ex-dividend date to allow for the three stock trading day settlement of the stock purchase. If you purchase the stock the day before the ex-dividend date you would be a stockholder on the record date and would be entitled to receive the dividend payment.
You must be a stockholder on the record date to receive the dividend payment.
You do not have to sell the stock after the record date to be entitled to the dividend. However, you must hold and sell your stock on the ex-dividend date or after to be entitled to the dividend payment. In this example, assuming that you purchased the stock one day before the ex-dividend date, you would be a stockholder on record date. If you sell the stock on the ex-dividend date, the buyer of your stock would be a stockholder one day after the record date given the three stock business trading day settlement. The person that bought your stock would not be entitled to receive the dividend.
You must only own the stock one-day to be entitled to receive the dividend payment.
If you buy before the ex-dividend date, and sell on the ex-dividend date or after, you receive the dividend payment. Selling your stock before the ex-dividend date means you are also selling away your right to the stock dividend.
Like any trading system, overall market sentiment and momentum is key. One advantage is that dividend paying stocks do have a tendency to be much more stable and predictable and have the tendency to appreciate in price due to the dividend payment.
If the "holders of record" date is February 5th, the ex-dividend date is February 3rd, and you must have bought the stock by February 2nd.