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 or Stephanie Link.

Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, 55 U.S. common stocks are scheduled to go ex-dividend. The dividend yields on these stocks range from 0.2% to 16.3%. All of these stocks can be found on our

stocks going ex-dividend

section of our

dividend calendar

.

Highlighted Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Thursday:

Ivy High Income Opportunities Fund

Owners of

Ivy High Income Opportunities Fund

(NYSE:

IVH

) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 48 cents per share. At a price of $17.68 as of 4:02 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 8.5%.

The average volume for Ivy High Income Opportunities Fund has been 88,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ivy High Income Opportunities Fund has a market cap of $278.5 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are unchanged year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Belden

Owners of

Belden

(NYSE:

BDC

) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 5 cents per share. At a price of $67.93 as of 4:00 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 0.3%.

The average volume for Belden has been 212,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Belden has a market cap of $3.0 billion and is part of the industrial industry. Shares are up 54.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Belden Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets cable, connectivity, and networking products for industrial, enterprise, and broadcast markets. It operates in three segments: the Americas; the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); and the Asia Pacific. The company has a P/E ratio of 25.81.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Belden

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. You can view the full

Belden Ratings Report

now.

Taubman Centers

Owners of

Taubman Centers

(NYSE:

TCO

) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 50 cents per share. At a price of $67.01 as of 4:04 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 3%.

The average volume for Taubman Centers has been 518,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Taubman Centers has a market cap of $4.2 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 14.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Taubman Centers, Inc. operates as a real estate investment trust. As of June 30, 2005, the company owned a 63% managing general partner's interest in The Taubman Realty Group Limited Partnership (the operating partnership). The company has a P/E ratio of 43.14.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Taubman Centers

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, revenue growth and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. You can view the full

Taubman Centers Ratings Report

now.

Fidelity National Financial

Owners of

Fidelity National Financial

(NYSE:

FNF

) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 18 cents per share. At a price of $30.34 as of 4:03 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 2.5%.

The average volume for Fidelity National Financial has been 3.2 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Fidelity National Financial has a market cap of $7.2 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are up 25.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Fidelity National Financial, Inc. provides title insurance, mortgage services, and diversified services in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.56.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Fidelity National Financial

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. You can view the full

Fidelity National Financial Ratings Report

now.

Merck

Owners of

Merck

(NYSE:

MRK

) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 44 cents per share. At a price of $49.43 as of 4:00 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 3.6%.

The average volume for Merck has been 14.1 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Merck has a market cap of $144.3 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 21.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Merck & Co., Inc. provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 33.15.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Merck

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. You can view the full

Merck 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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