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Ex-Dividend Stocks: Microsoft, Avon

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Avon Products

Coty increased its bid for beauty supplies company Avon on Thursday to $24.75 a share.

"Avon has announced today that it has received a letter from Coty increasing its offer to acquire the company to $24.75/share, up from the most recent bid of $23.25 on April 2nd, and the first proposal of $22.25," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "When Coty publicized its $23.25 offer, Avon quickly responded within the hour, saying that the offer substantially undervalued the company, was opportunistically timed, and an indication of interest did not constitute a real offer. This time, Avon is saying its Board will consider the letter in due course. In between the two most recent offers, Avon reported a weaker than expected quarter that also disappointed the new management team."

On Sunday, Avon said it would consider selling itself to Coty after Coty sweetened the deal. Avon said its board would respond to Coty within a week.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 4.7%

Columbia Sportswear

The sportswear company reported on April 26 first-quarter net income of $3.9 million, or 11 cents a share, down from year-earlier net income of $12.8 million, or 37 cents a share.

"Given the ongoing impact of elevated outerwear/cold weather inventory levels and cautious retailer ordering (particularly in Europe), we now expect COLM revenue to grow 0.4% in 2012 (vs. prior 2.3%) with full year operating margin in-line with 2011," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in an April 30 report. "While GM is expected to contract 30 to 50bps, we expect this to be offset by slight SGA leverage supported by the cost containment measures implemented in 1Q, with the majority of SGA leverage weighted to the backhalf (with y/y SGA $ down in 2H12). Given our more muted 2012 sales and margin outlook, we are lowering our F2012E EPS to $2.90 (from $3.10). Our PO remains $55, 16-17x our 2013E EPS of $3.40."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.9%

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