Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer.

Monday, Monday, March 30, 2015, 26 U.S. common stocks are scheduled to go ex-dividend. The dividend yields on these stocks range from 0.8% to 9.5%. All of these stocks can be found on our

stocks going ex-dividend

section of our

dividend calendar

.

Highlighted Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Monday:

Vanguard Natural Resources

Owners of

Vanguard Natural Resources

(NASDAQ:

VNRBP

) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 16 cents per share. At a price of $22.00 as of 9:49 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 8.6%.

The average volume for Vanguard Natural Resources has been 55,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Vanguard Natural Resources has a market cap of $155.0 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 14.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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BankUnited

Owners of

BankUnited

(NYSE:

BKU

) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 21 cents per share. At a price of $32.71 as of 9:52 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 2.6%.

The average volume for BankUnited has been 875,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. BankUnited has a market cap of $3.4 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are up 13.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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BankUnited, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for BankUnited, National Association that provides a range of banking products services to commercial and middle-market businesses, and individual customers in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.84.

TheStreet Ratings rates

BankUnited

as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity. You can view the full

BankUnited Ratings Report

now.

AmTrust Financial Services

Owners of

AmTrust Financial Services

(NASDAQ:

AFSI

) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 25 cents per share. At a price of $55.41 as of 9:52 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 1.8%.

The average volume for AmTrust Financial Services has been 682,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. AmTrust Financial Services has a market cap of $4.7 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are down 0.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., through its subsidiaries, underwrites and provides property and casualty insurance in the United States and internationally. It operates in three segments: Small Commercial Business, Specialty Risk and Extended Warranty, and Specialty Program. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.45.

TheStreet Ratings rates

AmTrust Financial Services

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. You can view the full

AmTrust Financial Services Ratings Report

now.

More About Dividends:

One benefit of owning a stock is the potential that you will be paid a dividend. The distribution of dividend payments is another way for a company to share its profit with you. A dividend means that the company pays you a certain amount of money, either as a one-time payment or more commonly on a quarterly basis, for each share of stock you own.

Many times, dividends come at the expense of greater price appreciation, because the company is distributing its profits to shareholders rather than reinvesting the profits back into the growth of the company. However, companies that pay dividends can be very attractive to investors when they offer a steady stream of income. There are some important terms and dates an investor should be familiar with before purchasing any dividend-paying companies. Let's work through an example to help better explain some of these terms:

On March 1, ABC Widget Company has decided that because it holds excess cash and lacks investment opportunities, it would like to reward shareholders with a regular quarterly dividend payment. The date for this particular announcement is known as the declaration date. It is on this date that the company announces the specific dividend payment along with the holder-of-record date (aka record date) and the payment date. The company announces that a dividend payment of 25 cents per share will be payable March 31, 2012 (the payment date) to all shareholders of record at the close of business on March 16, 2012 (holder-of-record date). What does this all mean? Well the short story is that the company looks at its records on March 16 and anyone listed on the books as an owner of ABC Widget company will be eligible for the dividend payment (on March 31).

The one other important term to remember is the ex-dividend date. The ex-dividend date (typically two trading days before the holder-of-record date for U.S. securities) is the day in which a company begins trading without the dividend. In order to have a claim on a dividend, shares must be purchased no later than the last business day before the ex-dividend date. A company trading ex-dividend will have the upcoming dividend subtracted from the share price at the start of the trading day. Many times, the price of a stock will increase in anticipation of the upcoming dividend as the ex-dividend date approaches, yet will fall back by the amount of the dividend on the ex-dividend date.

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