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9 Ex-Dividend Stocks With Buy Ratings

Stocks in this article: RHI HSY LTD NUS CCL AGN AVA HCSG MTX

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The following stocks go ex-dividend Wednesday, meaning an investor must purchase the shares Tuesday to qualify for the next dividend payment: Hershey (HSY), Carnival (CCL), Allergan (AGN), Limited Brands (LTD), Avista (AVA), Healthcare Services Group (HCSG), Mineral Technologies (MTX), Nu Skin (NUS) and Robert Half International (RHI).

Each of the stocks received a buy rating from TheStreet Ratings.


The chocolate company reported earlier this month fourth-quarter earnings of $142.1 million, or 62 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $135.5 million, or 59 cents.

"We lower our 1Q12 EPS estimate from $0.83 to $0.78. Key elements of our forecast are: 1) Organic sales growth of +5.5% with volume -2.5% and price/mix +8%. HSY forecasts volumes to be down in the first quarter as pricing flows through," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a Feb. 2 report. "This will be the first quarter with pricing implemented on seasonal product; 2) We forecast gross margin of 42%, a sequential improvement versus last quarter, as pricing and cost savings help mitigate higher input costs. Looking ahead, gross margin is expected to sequentially improve and be up +75bps for the year with improved price realization; 3) We forecast SG&A as a % of sales to be 23.5% of sales as HSY boosts advertising spend behind new products and seasonal; 4) Below the line, we forecast interest expense of $25.4m, a tax rate of 36% and shares outstanding of 229m."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.5%

Rated "A- (Buy)" by TheStreet Ratings: The company's fourth-quarter gross profit margin decreased from the prior year.

Hershey has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.93, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth decreased 3.28% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $74.54. The stock closed Friday at $60.86 and has fallen 1.49% year to date.

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