Originally Posted by bill0527
You make money by buying stock 2 ways - an appreciation in your share value (price of your stock goes up), but you will only make money if you sell it (book value increases, but money in your pocket does not, unless you sell). The other way is through dividends. Both of these components - share appreciation and dividends make up your capitol gain on a stock (or capital loss).
A dividend is an amount of money set by management of a company that they decide to return to shareholders. Companies typically pay dividends on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis. Some companies don't pay a dividend at all - doesn't mean they're a bad company or in trouble, they could be doing other things with their money like re-investment in the company instead of paying dividends.
You'll always want to check a company's history to see if they pay dividends and how often they pay dividends. You'll want a good understanding of their dividend policy up front. Dividend policies of company's typically don't change. Once they set a dividend amount to pay and its frequency, they seldom deviate from it, unless they need that money for reinvestment.
As an example, if a company pays a quarterly dividend of .38 cents per share and you own 100 shares, then you will get a check from them for 38 bucks every quarter. Some quarters they may decide not to pay a dividend, but again, it doesn't mean they are in trouble, it could mean that they have to make some major capital purchases in the short-term.
Excellent, first post updated
Unless you believe in unicorns, buying Apple right now won't make you an instant fortune.
(If you bought it just as recently as a year ago, you might have made a nice chunk of cash, though.)
That's not true. Apple fluctuates $2 to $4 a day. You can keep buying and selling and making money if you know how to do it :p Instant furtunes = fairy tales anyway.