7 Dividend Stocks to Consider

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In a volatile market, some investors may want to consider buying dividend stocks, because they offer a regular income stream amid the market's gyrations.

We have identified seven dividend stocks and listed them on the following pages in order of their ex-dividend dates.

7. Royal Bank of Canada ( RY), a diversified financial services company, provides personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, corporate and investment banking and transaction processing services.

In the last week of August, the bank declared a quarterly common-share dividend of 54 cents per share, payable on or after Nov. 24, 2011 to common shareholders as of record at close of business on Oct. 26, 2011.

The bank's ex-dividend date is Oct. 24, 2011. The current dividend yield is 4.3%.

The bank recorded net income of $1.6 billion for the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 13% from the year-ago quarter. Also, earnings per share for the same period were up 12 cents to $1.04.

On average, analysts surveyed by Bloomberg have a $55.68 12-month price target on the stock. That's 18.4% greater than the stock's recent price.

6. The Clorox Company ( CLX), a manufacturer and marketer of consumer and institutional products, operates in four segments: cleaning, lifestyle, household and international. It sells its products through mass merchandisers, grocery stores and other retail outlets.

The company is trading at a dividend yield of 3.3% and will go ex-dividend on Oct. 24, 2011.

In mid-September, the company declared a quarterly dividend of 60 cents per share on its common stock payable Nov. 14, 2011 to stockholders of record as of Oct. 26, 2011.

The company's annual dividend has doubled in the past five years, from $1.20 to $2.40 per share. In May 2011, Clorox raised its dividend by 9% from the previous quarter.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, Clorox recorded 20% growth in its diluted earnings per share to $1.26. Meanwhile, sales for the quarter increased 4%. For full-year 2011, earnings per share grew 7% to $3.93, while net earnings from continuing operations rose 3.6% to $545 million from a year before.

For fiscal year 2012, Clorox estimates 1% to 3% sales growth.

5. NiSource ( NI), an energy holding company, operates in three segments: gas distribution; gas transmission and storage, and electric. It provides natural gas, electricity and other products and services to nearly 3.8 million customers in seven states and operates approximately 59 thousand miles of pipeline.

The company is trading at a dividend yield of 4.1% and is seen going ex-dividend on Oct. 27, 2011. In the last week of August, NI's board of directors approved a quarterly common dividend of 23 cents per share payable Nov. 18, 2011 to all stockholders of record on Oct. 31, 2011.

For the second quarter of 2011, the company reported better-than-expected results, prompting analysts to raise their estimates for 2011. For the second quarter, earnings per share came in at 17 cents, indicating a 31% increase from the year-ago quarter and beating analyst estimates of 14 cents. Revenue was up 8% to $1.18 billion, led by strong growth of 16% in the gas transportation & storage division.

Looking ahead, the company reaffirms its 2011 EPS guidance to be in the range of $1.25 to $1.35. Moreover, NiSource presents significant growth prospects as it continues to expand its presence in the Marcellus Shale region.

4. Prospect Capital ( PSEC) is a financial services company that lends to and invests in middle market privately-held companies, focusing on energy companies. It is a closed-end investment company investing in senior and subordinated debt and equity of companies in need of capital.

The company has a current dividend yield of 13.1% and will be going ex-dividend on Oct. 27, 2011. The company declared monthly cash distribution of 10.1325 cents per share for Sep. 2011 payable Oct. 25, 2011 to stockholders as of record Sep. 30, 2011.

Monthly cash distribution declared for Oct. 2011 was 10.1350 cents per share payable Nov. 22, 2011 to stockholders as of Oct. 31, 2011.

The company's board has authorized a repurchase plan of up to $100 million of its common stock because it believes the recent market turmoil may cause the company's common stock to be undervalued from time to time.

For the fiscal year ended Jun. 30, 2011, the company recorded net investment income of $94.2 million, an increase of 40.2% from the prior year. The company's net asset value per share rose to $10.36, an increase of 6 cents per share from the prior year. As of Jun. 30, 2011, PSEC had 72 long-term investments with a fair value of $1.463 billion, compared with 58 long-term investments with a fair value of $748.5 million at June 30, 2010.

3. ConAgra Foods ( CAG) operates in two segments: consumer foods and commercial foods. Its brands include Banquet, Chef Boyardee, David Seeds, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Pam and Snack Pack.

The company has a dividend yield of 3.6%. The ex-dividend date is Oct. 27, 2011. With strong cash flows, CAG has hiked its quarterly dividend to 24 cents per share from the earlier 23 cents per share. Taking the annual dividend to 96 cents per share, the quarterly dividend is payable on Dec. 1, 2011 to shareholders as of record Oct. 31, 2011.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2012, sales increased 9.5% to $3.07 billion from the year-ago quarter. Commercial food segment sales increased 19% from the prior-year levels.

Cash and cash equivalents for the quarter increased to $1.09 billion from $972.4 million recorded in the first quarter of fiscal 2011. For fiscal 2012, the company has reaffirmed earnings per share to grow in the low- to mid-single-digit rate of $1.75 recorded last year.

On average, analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain 3.4% to $26.60 over the next 12 months.

2. Janus Capital Group ( JNS) engages in providing investment management, administration, distribution and related services to individual and institutional investors through mutual funds, other pooled investment vehicles, separate accounts and subadvised relationships in the domestic and international markets.

The company has a dividend yield of 3.3%. Janus would be going ex-dividend on Oct. 27, 2011. In August, the company paid its quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share.

The company is scheduled to report its third-quarter results on Oct. 20, 2011. Analysts polled by Bloomberg see net income for the quarter increasing to $33.37 million from $32.50 million in the year-ago quarter. Earnings per share are seen relatively flat at 18 cents per share. Sales for the quarter are seen at $238.2 million. Operating profit is seen growing 72% to $72.41 million from the third quarter of 2010. Book value per share is forecast to rise 14% to $6.77 from the prior-year quarter.

On average, analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain 12.8% to $7.42 over the next 12 months.

1. Bank of Montreal ( BMO) provides a range of credit and noncredit products and services directly and indirectly through Canadian and non-Canadian subsidiaries, offices and branches. It operates in three segments: Personal and Commercial Banking, Private Client Group and BMO Capital Markets.

The company has a dividend yield of 4.8%, and its ex-dividend date is Oct. 28, 2011. In the last week of August, the bank paid a dividend of 70 cents per share on its paid-up common shares for the third quarter of fiscal year 2011. The company expects to pay the next common stock dividend on Nov. 28, 2011 to shareholders as of record Nov. 1, 2011.

For the third quarter of 2011, the bank reported a 18% increase in its net income to $793 million from the year-ago quarter. Earnings per share stood at $1.27, rising 12% from the third quarter of 2010. Revenue for the same period was up 13%. The return on equity rose to 14.7% from 13.7% in the same quarter of the previous year. For the fourth quarter, BMO has announced a dividend of 70 cents per share, unchanged from the previous quarter.

On average, analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average of 12.7% to $65.29 in the coming 12 months.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 7 Dividend Stocks to Consider portfolio on Stockpickr.

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