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Why the Westpac share price has dropped 4% lower today

In early trade the Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) share price has been amongst the worst performers on the S&P/ASX 200 index.

At the time of writing the banking giant’s shares are down over 4% to $25.77

Why is the Westpac share price sinking lower today?

Thankfully, nothing bad has happened to cause Westpac’s shares to sink lower today.

Westpac’s share price decline can in fact be attributed to its shares trading ex-dividend this morning.

When a share goes ex-dividend it means it is trading without the rights to its upcoming dividend. To reflect this a company’s share price will usually drop in value by the amount of the dividend.

What dividend is Westpac paying?

Earlier this month the bank released its first half results which revealed a 24% decline in statutory net profit to $3,173 million and a 22% decline in cash earnings to $3,296 million.

According to Westpac’s CEO, Mr Brian Hartzer, this result reflected “weaker business conditions and the bank dealing decisively with outstanding issues, including remediation and resetting our wealth strategy.”

One positive, though, was the strength of the bank’s balance sheet. It finished the period with a 10.64% common equity Tier 1 capital ratio, which is comfortably above regulatory requirements.

In light of this, the Westpac board determined an unchanged interim dividend of 94 cents per share fully franked.

Now that Westpac’s shares have gone ex-dividend, those that were on the share registry when the market closed on Wednesday can look forward to being paid this dividend in around six weeks on June 24.

Elsewhere in the industry today, the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) share price is trading flat, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) share price has edged higher, and the National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) share price is down 0.5%.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro owns shares of Westpac Banking. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of National Australia Bank Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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