4 Ex-Dividend Stocks With Buy Ratings

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- These stocks go ex-dividend Thursday, meaning an investor must purchase the shares Wednesday to qualify for the next dividend payment: Southern ( SO), Noble Energy ( NBL), IdaCorp ( IDA) and Webster Financial ( WBS).

Each of these stocks received a buy rating from TheStreet Ratings.

See the complete Dividend Calendar.

Southern

The electric utility reported fourth-quarter earnings last week of $261 million, or 30 cents a share, an increase from year-earlier profit of $153 million, or 18 cents. year.

"Southern Company provided its 2012-2014 capital spending plan during its fourth quarter conference call, and highlighted that it could be forced to spend an additional $4.4 billion from 2012-2014 to meet stricter emissions limits from the EPA," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a Jan. 27 report. "While 2012 would see limited impact from implementation, earnings could see a modest uplift in the out years of 2013 and 2014 as SO ramps up spending to meets the new emissions rules. (SO projects that it could spend $0.4 billion in 2012, $1.2 billion in 2013, and $2.8 billion in 2014). We estimate that SO could see a $0.03, $0.09, and $0.22 of incremental benefit to earnings in 2012, 2013, and 2014 respectively if it proceeds with environmental spending."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 4.2%

Rated "A+ (Buy)" by TheStreet Ratings: The company's fourth-quarter gross profit margin increased from the previous year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $53.87. The stock closed at $45.56 on Tuesday.

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