Q: How can I tell if a company pays a dividend?
--Clara Gray, Richmond, Va.
A: The fastest way is to look in the newspaper's stock listings. In The Times, for example, a stock's annual dividend, if any, will be listed next to the stock name or abbreviation. Ford Motor Co., for example, is "FordM 1.68" in The Times' listings. That indicates that Ford's current annual dividend is $1.68 a share.
The next important figure is the dividend yield, which The Times shows for New York Stock Exchange issues. The dividend yield is simply the current annual dividend divided by the current share price. Thus, Ford's current dividend yield is 3.5%. To track how often a company has raised its dividend, your best bet is to get the company's annual report and study the dividend history.
Q: I'm considering investing in mutual funds, even though you guys don't like them. What's this "NAV" I see in listings of funds?