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In the case of stocks, the record date refers to dividend payouts.
When a corporation declares a dividend, it therefore specifies who is called a shareholder. This is the group of owners that will be paid a dividend.
Typically, the firm specifies a deadline on which an owner must own shares in order to receive a dividend. This is referred to as the record date.
Investors who do not own the stock or who purchase it after the record date are ineligible for the dividend.