I understand that a dividend is a way for a company to return money to shareholders. But I'm not quite understanding why it is preferable to capital appreciation and putting the money to work increasing the earnings and revenue of the company. I get that people who buy stocks to get income from dividends, but the decrease in the price of a stock that correlates directly to the amount of the dividend seems to me like it's a zero-sum game.
Part of me thinks that I just fall into the Warren Buffet camp of thought that the money can be spent more wisely in house. But the other part feels like the desire for a dividend is to reinvest and add shares at a lower price (the price the stock goes to ex-dividend).
What am I missing here?