7 Ex-Dividend Stocks With Buy Ratings

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The following stocks go ex-dividend Wednesday, meaning an investor must purchase the stock Tuesday to qualify for the next dividend payment: Abbott Laboratories ( ABT), Aetna ( AET), Freeport-McMoran ( FCX), Foot Locker ( FL), Morningstar ( MORN), Whole Foods Market ( WFM) and Yum! Brands ( YUM). Each of the stocks gets a buy rating from TheStreet Ratings.

Abbott Laboratories

Abbott Laboratories is a health care products company. Abbott announced on Monday an exclusive licensing agreement with Apricus Biosciences ( APRI) that gives Abbott the rights to market Apricus' erectile dysfunction treatment Vitaros in Canada. Abbott has increased its dividend for 39 consecutive years.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3.4%

Rated "B (Buy)" By TheStreet Ratings: The company's third-quarter gross profit margin was basically unchanged from the prior year.

Abbott's liquidity is weak. Its Quick Ratio is 0.97, which demonstrates a lack of ability to cover short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 14.94%.

TheStreet Ratings' price target on Abbott is $65.11. The stock closed Monday at $55.85.

Freeport-McMoran

Freeport-McMoran is a mineral resources mining and exploration company.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.6%

Rated "B- (Buy)" By TheStreet Ratings: The company's third-quarter gross profit margin decreased from a year ago.

Freeport is very liquid. Its Quick Ratio is 2.07, which shows it can cover its short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 32.43% from a year earlier.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $45.39. The stock closed at $39.04 on Monday.

Foot Locker

Foot Locker is an athletic apparel and footwear retailer. The company opened 52 new stores in the first nine months of 2011 and closed 76 in the same time period.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.6%

Rated "A- (Buy)" By TheStreet Ratings: Foot Locker's third-quarter gross profit margin increased from a year ago.

Stockholders' net worth increased 5.81% from a year ago.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $32.47. The stock closed Monday at $25.03.

Yum! Brands

Yum! Brands operates fast food restaurants. In its third-quarter earnings presentation, Yum! reiterated its 2011 full-year earnings per share growth should be at least 12%, excluding special items. The company opened 331 new restaurants in the third quarter, with 138 opening in China.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.9%

Rated "A+ (Buy)" By TheStreet Ratings: The company's third-quarter gross profit margin remained about the same with a year earlier.

The company has weak liquidity with a Quick Ratio of 0.67. That demonstrates a lack of ability to cover short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 28.08% compared to a year ago.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $68.63. The stock closed at $59.62 on Monday.

Aetna

Aetna is a diversified health care benefits company. Aetna has a pilot program with Best Buy ( BBY) that makes Aetna's well-being products available at some Best Buy stores. Aetna projected in its third-quarter earnings presentation that it would have full-year 2012 earnings per share of at least $4.80.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.6%

Rated "A+ (Buy) By TheStreet Ratings: Aetna's third-quarter gross profit margin increased from one year ago.

The company has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.67, which demonstrates a lack of ability to cover short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, stockholders' net work increased 5.32% from the same period a year earlier.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $51.92. Shares closed Monday at $44.14.

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market owns organic supermarkets. The company raised its fourth-quarter dividend 40% to 14 cents a share. Whole Foods sales increased 12.2% in the fourth quarter.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 0.8%

Rated "A (Buy)" By TheStreet Ratings: Whole Foods' fourth-quarter gross profit margin was about the same as a year ago.

The company has average liquidity with a Quick Ratio of 1.05. This means that the company can technically cover its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 26.04% from a year ago.

TheStreet Ratings' price target on Whole Foods is $95.48. The stock closed Monday at $72.89.

Morningstar

Morningstar is an independent research provider. The company's third-quarter organic revenue rose 11%, but CEO Joe Mansueto noted that operating expenses increased due to higher compensation costs, which included bonuses. Operating expenses rose 15.1% to $16.5 million. Morningstar's consolidated operating income in the third quarter increased 12.3% to $33.9 million.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 0.7%

Rated "A- (Buy)" By TheStreet Ratings: The company's third-quarter gross profit margin was basically the same as it was a year ago.

Morningstar is very liquid. Its Quick Ratio is 2.22, which means the company can cover its short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 10.68% from the previous year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $76.49. The stock closed Monday at $59.50.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 7 Ex-Dividend Stocks With Buy Ratings portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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