"you have to own the stock today or you miss out"
No, you have to be a shareholder of record today to get the dividend. You don't have to own the stock today. Owning a stock and being a shareholder of record are two different things. You don't become a shareholder of record until your purchase trade settles, three business days later, yet you own the stock the instant your buy trade executes. You also remain a shareholder of record for three business days after you sell a stock (until the trade settles), though you're no longer an owner the instant your sell trade is executed. So anyone who sold the stock on the ex-dividend date of March 29 remains a shareholder of record until tomorrow, April 1.
The wash rule doesn't apply to tax advantaged accounts and many traders don't care anyway. Very few short term trade decision are driven by tax consequences.
"It has been suggested by posters on this board that when the split is announced, shareholders will have had to be holding their shares for at least 90 days in order to receive shares in the new company"
That's only because those posters don't know what they're talking about.
"I scan most of the filings and press releases, but don't recall reading of such a requirement anywhere."
The only reason you can't find it is because no such requirement exists.
"Does anyone have experience with other companies who have split in a similar way that Alcoa is planning to do, and was there a holding period requirement in order to get shares in the spinoff company?"
Yes, there is always a holding period requirement with spinoffs, and it is always exactly the same for every spinoff: To receive a spinoff, you must be a holder of the parent company shares as of the close of extended hours trading on the last trading day before the spinoff ex-date.
There will be no end of confusion and false claims on this board as the spinoff ex-date approaches, due entirely ignorance, fueled through both a general lack of understand and the fact that for this spinoff, quite unlike normal cash dividends, the ex date will be not before the record date but after it. To be specific, the ex-date for the spinoff will be the first trading day after the distribution date. To read up on how spinoff dates work, do a google search for Understanding Dividend Dates, click on the first return, and scroll down to that part that starts with Dividends of 25% or More of a Company's Stock Price. Spinoffs use the same rules as for dividends of 25% or more of a stock's price.
"would you use apostrophe's instead?"
You've already overused the apostrophe by writing "apostrophe's." It doesn't belong there.
As to hammering home a point, all you need to do is pound on the keyboard really hard when you're typing. Either that or do what I do when I want to emphasize a point: Yell at the screen when you proof read the post.
You really need to be careful about abusing quotation marks. I don't know this to be true but I've heard that quotation marks and apostrophes are both gateway punctuation to exclamation points. Eventually you overdose on commas and you're found (usually too late) face down on your keyboard, leaving your friends and family with nothing but question marks.
At your funeral the eulogist wants to quote something profound you may have said at sometime in your life, and it starts all over again.
It's an ugly circle, isn't it?
"which of the two Ex-dates do we go by and why"
May 18, 2016. Because that's the ex-date for the shares that trade in the US (the ADS). May 19, 2016 is for the shares that trade in Amsterdam and London.
"What is ADSs? I've asked this in the past and heard different answers."
Ever take a look at the company website? "ADS stands for an American Depositary Share. ADR stands for an American Depositary Receipt. An ADR is a certificate that evidences ADSs. ADSs are listed on the NYSE under the symbols RDS.A and RDS.B. Each ADS represents two ordinary shares, two A Shares in the case of RDS.A or two B Shares in the case of RDS.B. In many cases the terms ADR and ADS are used interchangeably."
bobdbeck is correct.
"doesnt it take three days to clear"
Yes, but the ex-date takes into account the three days necessary for a trade to settle. The ex-date is the first day that the dividend doesn't trade with the stock BECAUSE it takes three days to settle a trade before the record date.
Today is indeed the ex-date. See GLBL's press release on the dividend for confirmation that dragon.slipper is correct: March 10 is the record date, not the ex-date: "The dividend is payable on March 17, 2016 to shareholders of record as of March 10, 2016."
A record date of March 10 makes today, March 8, the ex-date.
To the genius who gave my simple statement of facts a thumbs down: From the company's SEC filing dated December 21, 2015
"prior to the Spin-Off, Hertz Holdings intends to seek stockholder approval of a reverse stock split with a
ratio equal to an integral ratio between 1-for-2 to 1-for-10, inclusive, as determined by the board of directors. The implementation of the reverse stock split would be effective immediately following the Spin-Off."
...And because the price of HTZ will drop so low, the company has already announced that it will reverse split the stock to get the price back up to a less embarrassing level. Somewhere between a one for two and a one for ten ratio, to be decided closer to the spinoff date.
"HERC is likely going to spin out to shaeholders at close to $8, meaning those buying HTZ today are getting it for close to free."
It won't be anywhere close to free. Are you not aware that on the spinoff ex-date the price of HTZ will be adjusted down by the price of HERC, which will be established in when-issued trading before the ex-date?
If today was the ex-date and Herc closed yesterday in when-issued trading at 8, HTZ would now be trading around two bucks. This is simple, standard procedure. Have you never seen how a spinoff works before?
You have the right idea, but the wrong details. You start off with one of them: " the stock will AUTOMATICALLY open down $4 on Friday morning from Thursdays's close"
No, it's not automatic, and it won't necessarily open down by the exact amount of the dividend. The market is free to open it at any auction-established price, just like with every other trade. The reason it opens lower by about the amount of the dividend is because traders are not willing to pay the same price as the day before, when on the ex-date the stock no longer trades with the right to the dividend. It's very rare for a stock to open exactly at the previous day's close minus the amount of the dividend. It can happen, but it does so far less often than not.
"when it opens $4 lower than its previous close, it will trigger all kinds of stops and pre-established sell orders"
No, it doesn't. Here's where the automatic adjustment happens: All open orders for a stock are adjusted by the amount of the dividend before the open of trading on the ex-date. That prevents pre-existing stop orders from triggering simply because of the dividend markdown. The only open orders that are not automatically adjusted down are those placed with a Do Not Reduce restriction.
"You aren't gaining anything by trying to capture the dividend unless you expect the stock to quickly recover."
I agree with that. It's silly to buy a stock just to get a dividend.