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An announcement date is a date when important information about a company is made public. Announcement dates can also include dates of more general releases of financial information, such as interest rate announcements from the Fed in the United States. Individuals and groups conducting event studies, studies which examine the impact of public announcements on values, pay close attention to announcement dates.
One special type of an announcement date is a declaration date, in which company representatives announce an upcoming dividend. On a declaration date, the company incurs liability, because it is committing to pay out a dividend in the near future. This results in an adjustment to the books to reflect the upcoming payout. Other announcements which may occur on an announcement date can include information about an upcoming stock split, a change in management, or the results of merger or sale negotiations.
An announcement date usually has some sort of impact on the company's value, even if the impact is not necessarily immediately related to the announcement, because changes tend to be make investors respond. The value may go up if people think that the announcement is good for the company, or down if people are concerned that the announcement bodes ill for the company's future. Being able to react quickly on an announcement day is critical for people who work in the financial industry.
People who use knowledge about information which will be released on an announcement date to make decisions about buying and selling securities can be accused of insider trading. The argument goes that average investors cannot act on this information until it is announced, so investors with knowledge about information which hasn't been released are at an unfair advantage. For this reason, people in a position to have such knowledge, such as CEOs, may be required to register trades and sales so that they can demonstrate that they are not using insider knowledge.
Certain types of announcement dates may be scheduled or announced beforehand so that people are aware of the fact that an important release of information is upcoming. Some occur at regularly set intervals; interest rate changes, for example, happen at the same time, and thus can be anticipated by investors and other people who may have an interest in upcoming interest rate adjustments. It is not uncommon for markets to fluctuate in the hours and minutes leading up to such announcements as investors jockey for positions.
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