4 Ex-Dividend Stocks With Buy Ratings

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Fluid materials company Graco ( GGG) was upgraded by Goldman Sachs Wednesday to a buy from a sell because Goldman expects the drivers for Graco's earnings strength in 2011 will continue in 2012.

Graco's organic revenue growth is slated to outpace its peers this year because of its new products and markets as well as its presence in Asia, Goldman analysts wrote in a note.

"Our Sell rating had been based on exposure to weak US housing markets (20-25% of revenues) constraining valuation, which has clearly proven incorrect," Goldman analysts wrote.

Goldman raised its price target on Graco to $49 from $41.

Graco is one of several companies going ex-dividend Thursday, meaning an investor must purchase the stock Wednesday to qualify for the next dividend payment.

Graco gets a buy rating from TheStreet Ratings as do Chesapeake Energy ( CHK), EOG Resources ( EOG) and Lincare Holdings ( LNCR).

Lincare Holdings

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Lincare Holdings deals with respiratory therapy. The company's revenue for the first nine months of 2011 increased 8.7% to almost $1.4 billion. Net income for the first nine months decreased 2% to $132.8 million.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3.2%

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

The company has average liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1.16, which demonstrates that the company can technically cover its short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, stockholders' net worth decreased 10.94%.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $28.52. The stock closed on Tuesday at $25.19.

Graco

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Graco is involved in the fluid materials business. The Federal Trade Commission filed a challenge to Graco's acquisition of the finishing business of Illinois Tool Works in December.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.3%

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

Graco is very liquid. Its Quick Ratio is 3.36, which shows that the company can meet any of its short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, investors' net worth increased 34.58%.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $48.05. The stock closed Tuesday at $40.45.

Chesapeake Energy

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Chesapeake Energy is a natural gas and oil company. The company recently completed a $2.3 billion Utica shale deal with Total ( TOT). The stock ended 2011 at $22.29, near its 52-week low of $22.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.5%

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

Chesapeake has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.46, which demonstrates a lack of ability to cover its short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, stockholders' net worth rose 6.71%.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $27.28. The stock closed Tuesday at $23.28.

EOG Resources

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EOG Resources is an oil and natural gas company. The company said in an investor presentation on Tuesday that it plans to maintain ownership of its oil resource plays and doesn't intend to participate in joint ventures which could be dilutive. EOG also helped North Dakota to reach 510,000 barrels a day in production in November, which was a 42% increase, according to Bloomberg.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 0.6%

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

EOG has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1.00, which demonstrates a lack of ability to cover its short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, stockholders' net equity increased 23.47%.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $117.98. The stock closed Tuesday at $105.52.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 4 Ex-Dividend Stocks With Buy Ratings portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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