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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.

Tomorrow, Friday, March 21, 2014, 4:00 AM ET, 11 U.S. common stocks are scheduled to go ex-dividend. The dividend yields on these stocks range from 1.2% to 14.5%. All of these stocks can be found on our

stocks going ex-dividend

section of our

dividend calendar

.

Highlighted Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Tomorrow:

Piedmont Natural Gas Company

Owners of

Piedmont Natural Gas Company

(NYSE:

PNY

) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 32 cents per share. At a price of $35.03 as of 9:35 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 3.6%.

The average volume for Piedmont Natural Gas Company has been 290,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Piedmont Natural Gas Company has a market cap of $2.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 6.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc., an energy services company, distributes natural gas in the United States. It operates in two segments, Regulated Utility and Non-Utility Activities.

TheStreet Ratings rates

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TheStreet Recommends

Piedmont Natural Gas Company

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and increase in stock price during the past year. 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

Piedmont Natural Gas Company Ratings Report

now.

Portland General Electric Company

Owners of

Portland General Electric Company

(NYSE:

POR

) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 28 cents per share. At a price of $31.98 as of 9:35 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 3.4%.

The average volume for Portland General Electric Company has been 525,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Portland General Electric Company has a market cap of $2.5 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 6.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

The company has a P/E ratio of 24.15.

CYS Investments

Owners of

CYS Investments

(NYSE:

CYS

) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 32 cents per share. At a price of $8.56 as of 9:36 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 14.5%.

The average volume for CYS Investments has been 2.8 million shares per day over the past 30 days. CYS Investments has a market cap of $1.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 15.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

CYS Investments, Inc., a specialty finance company, makes leveraged investments in whole-pool residential mortgage pass-through securities where the principal and interest payments are guaranteed.

TheStreet Ratings rates

CYS Investments

as a

sell

. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share. You can view the full

CYS Investments 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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