3 Ex-Dividend Stocks With Buy Ratings

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The following stocks go ex-dividend Friday, meaning an investor must purchase the shares Thursday to qualify for the next dividend payment: Wisconsin Energy ( WEC), Mine Safety Appliances ( MSA) and CA ( CA).

The three stocks received a buy rating from TheStreet Ratings.

See the complete Dividend Calendar.

Wisconsin Energy

The electric utility last week reported fourth-quarter earnings of $114.1 million, or 49 cents a share, down from year-earlier earnings of $125.6 million, or 53 cents.

"WEC shares offer a 3.4% current return on the $1.20 annual dividend, 11% annual near-term dividend growth and 4-6% annual EPS growth," Gabelli analysts wrote in a report on Wednesday. "Shares trade at 15.6X, and 14.9X our 2012 and 2013 earnings estimates, which compares to peer group multiples of 14.5X and 13.5X. Given earnings growth, strong credit profile, top-tier management and low-risk, WEC deserves a multiple premium. Our 2012 and 2013 PMV estimates are $35 and $37 per share using a 9.5X enterprise value-to-EBITDA earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ratio."

Wisconsin Energy has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 14.63; the average among multi-utilities is 14.66. For comparison, Duke Energy ( DUK) has a forward P/E of 15.03 and Sempra Energy's ( SRE) is 13.01.

Of the 19 analysts who cover Wisconsin Energy, 14 rated the company a hold; five gave it a buy rating.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3.5%

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

Wisconsin Energy has very weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.30, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 4.2% from the previous year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $39.74.

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