3 Ex-Dividend Stocks With Buy Ratings

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The following stocks go ex-dividend Thursday, meaning an investor must purchase the shares Wednesday to qualify for the next dividend payment: American Campus Communities ( ACC), W.W. Grainger ( GWW) and National Instruments ( NATI).

The three stocks received a buy rating from TheStreet Ratings.

See the complete Dividend Calendar.

American Campus Communities

The student housing company is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results on Feb. 14. Analysts, on average, expect earnings of 49 cents a share on revenue of $91.67 million.

American Campus Communities announced last month that it acquired $208 million of assets in Austin and College Park, Maryland which would add 1,927 beds.

"For 4Q, our core assumptions call for flat occupancy, 3.0% effective rent growth, and 2.5% expense growth as ACC completes the first full Q of the 2011/2012 school year," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a Jan. 25 report. "In conjunction with 3Q earnings, ACC announced an initial SS rent increase for the 2012/2013 academic year of 3.4%, ahead of last year's +2.7% initial increase and the +3.0% final fall 2011 rate increase. Overall, ACC has done a solid job on the leasing front and, going into the call, we'll be looking for an update on the current leasing environment."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3.1%

American Campus Communities has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio of 29.9 for next year. The average for residential REITs is 68.06. American Campus has the lowest forward P/E among its peers.

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

In the third quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 7.66% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $55.99. The stock closed Tuesday at $44.03; it has risen 4.93% year to date.

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