Warner Chilcott Gapped Down Over 20% on Ex-Dividend; Loss Improperly Displayed on Quote Platforms

Warner Chilcott (NASDAQ:WCRX) opened down 23% from Tuesday’s closing price of $16.90 after the company announced that the ex-dividend date for its $4 special dividend would be the 29th. On August 7th, Warner announced the cash dividend  and later announced an August 31 Date of Record. In a press release, the company mentioned that if the dividend exceeded 25% of the company’s share price, the ex-dividend would occur one day after the payment date (Sept. 10) per the NASDAQ’s requirements. On August 28, the NASDAQ decided that the $4 dividend did not exceed the 25% limit, and the ex-dividend would occur normally, two days before the record date. The company’s investor relations page was updated with a short note explaining the date as a requirement of the NASDAQ. The markets reacted accordingly, lowering the company’s market cap by $1B, in-line with the aggregate cost of the cash dividend. Adding to Wednesday’s ex-dividend confusion was a discrepancy among major financial websites’ percent increases for WCRX, some of which reflected gains on the opening price rather than the previous trading session’s close.