What happened

Shares of National CineMedia (NASDAQ:NCMI) jumped higher on Thursday, trading more than 12% above Wednesday's closing prices at the close.

So what

The jump repaired some of the damage shares took during Wednesday's trading session, when the company's majority owner, AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE:AMC) , dragged the stock down by posting a disappointing slate of preliminary second-quarter results. After the closing bell, though, National CineMedia soothed its investors' rattled nerves with a fresh dividend announcement. All told, after the plunge and the bounce, National CineMedia shares are trading roughly 8% below Tuesday night's prices.

Reservoir pen and a stack of $100 bills on top of a calendar.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

It's usually dividend increases that tend to lift share prices, but this is a special situation. National CineMedia simply stuck to payouts of $0.22 per share, the exact same regular quarterly payout it has been offering since the summer of 2011. But as a method of easing concerns about the company's results, a status quo announcement was enough to trigger a share price jump.

The in-theater advertising specialist has seen its share prices plunge 55% in 2017, lifting the dividend yield to a lavish 13%. At yields like these, it's understandable that investors would start to worry about the future of their  payouts, especially since the company has a history of playing it safe in the dividend arena. AMC's newly revealed financial troubles only add to the gloomy ambiance around National CineMedia and its dividend policy.

That said, National CineMedia's investors don't have the whole story yet. AMC's full results are scheduled for release on Friday morning, and National CineMedia's own report will follow Monday night. Tune in to those events if you want a fuller understanding of what this company is worth, and a better idea of how much longer management intends to hold those dividend payments steady.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.