10 Ex-Dividend Stocks With Buy Ratings

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The following stocks go ex-dividend Tuesday, meaning an investor must purchase the shares Monday to qualify for the next dividend payment: Coca-Cola ( KO), Macy's ( M), Merck ( MRK), Eastman Chemical ( EMN), Digital Realty Trust ( DLR), Garmin ( GRMN), KBR ( KBR), Leggett & Platt ( LEG), Legg Mason ( LM), Wyndham Worldwide ( WYN).

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

See the complete Dividend Calendar.

Coca-Cola

In recent news, the soft drink maker as well as its rival Pepsi ( PEP) are changing the way they make the coloring in their sodas to avoid the need for a cancer warning label in California, The Associated Press reported.

"We maintain our FY12E EPS of $3.98, but are shifting the flow of quarterly estimates," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a Feb. 22 report. "We lower 1Q12 EPS from $0.88 to $0.85 to account for gross margins down 140bps versus the year-ago period. Also, we are raising 4Q12 EPS from $0.86 to $0.89, as gross margins should sequentially improve as commodity cost comparisons ease. We also factor in a pension contribution of $900mn in 1Q and are raising our FY12 capex expectations from $2.2bn to $3.1bn."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3%

Rated "A (Buy)" by TheStreet Ratings: The company's fourth-quarter gross profit margin was basically unchanged from last year.

Coca-Cola has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.78, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 2.03% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $80.39. The stock closed Friday at $69.51 and has ticked down slightly year to date.

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Macy's

The retailer's stock hit a 52-week high on Thursday of $39.15.

"The 'winners are really winning' theme continues to permeate retail, and Macy's has been one of the clearest examples," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "Beginning in '10, M started gaining share in the department store space, and in the past six months, the gains have only accelerated."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.1%

Rated "A+ (Buy)" by TheStreet Ratings: The company's fourth-quarter gross profit margin remained about the same as last year.

Macy's has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.51, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 7.28% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $50.57. The stock closed Friday at $39.67 and has risen 23.28% year to date.


Merck

The pharmaceutical company last week reiterated its 2012 fiscal-year earnings guidance of between $3.75 and $3.85 a share.

"We see news flow for Merck accelerating in late 2012/early 2013 with several phase III readouts including odanacatib (osteoporosis), suvorexant (insomnia), Tredaptive (HPS2-THRIVE outcomes study), and extension data from the first phase III trial for anacetrapib (HDL)," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "From an R&D budget standpoint, while Merck has a number of large outcomes studies currently running, the company is implementing a more disciplined approach to R&D that we believe could result in a more focused pipeline and lower expense levels over time."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 4.5%

Rated "A- (Buy)" by TheStreet Ratings: The company's fourth-quarter gross profit margin was about the same as it was last year.

Merck has average liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1.43, which shows the company can technically meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth was about the same as the previous year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $43.65. The stock closed Friday at $37.60 and has ticked down 10 cents year to date.

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Eastman Chemical

"By adopting a change in its pension and other postretirement benefits (OPEB) accounting methodology, EMN now expects 2012 pension costs to be reduced by $75MM, presenting a $0.30 EPS benefit for the year and incremental to the ~$5 EPS annual guidance," Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a report Wednesday. "As a result, we are raising our 2012 earnings forecast from $5.00 to $5.30, and upping 2013 from $6.15 to $6.25."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2%

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

Eastman Chemical has average liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1.33, which shows the company can technically meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 14.93% from the previous year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $62.13. The stock closed Friday at $52.08 and has risen 33.33% year to date.


Digital Realty Trust

The real estate investment trust reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $36 million, or 34 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $24.9 million, or 27 cents.

"Digital Realty remains the best-in-class proven datacenter operator and developer, with earnings growth that will outpace most equity REIT peers," Cantor Fitzgerald analysts wrote in a March 1 report. "However, we continue to view the current valuation levels as expensive (currently a 26.1% premium to our NAV)."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 4%

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

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 28.55% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $92.40. The stock closed Friday at $71.39 and has risen 7.08% year to date.

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Garmin

The global positioning system company reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $187.5 million, or 85 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $161.6 million, or 68 cents.

"We continue to believe that GRMN is close to returning to consolidated revenue and EPS growth driven by its non- PND segments, and the almost 4% dividend yield allows us to be early on this call," Canaccord analysts wrote in a report Thursday.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3.8%

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

Garmin is extremely liquid. Its Quick Ratio is 2.35, which shows the company can meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 6.78% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $61.47M. The stock closed Friday at $47.51 and has risen 19.34% year to date.


KBR

The engineering and construction company reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $90 million, or 60 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $78 million, or 51 cents.

"We continue to view KBR as one of our top picks within the energy oriented E&C names, based on its leverage to specific opportunities on the LNG and downstream front, positive mix shift toward hydrocarbons that translates into margin expansion regardless of pricing improvement, and end markets capabilities outside of its core energy expertise," KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts wrote in a Feb. 27 report.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 0.6%

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

KBR has average liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1.15, which shows that the company can technically meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 11.08% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $43.16. The stock closed Friday at $35.99 and has risen 29.14% year to date.

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Legget & Platt

The engineered components company reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $8.7 million, or 6 cents a share, down from year-ago earnings of $31.4 million, or 21 cents.

"The shares have retreated to a level that we believe presents a compelling entry point," Hilliard Lyons analysts wrote in a Feb. 7 report. "We are thus raising our rating on shares of LEG from Neutral to Long-term Buy with a 12-month price target of $28."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 5.1%

Rated "B (Buy)" by TheStreet Ratings: The company's fourth-quarter gross profit margin was about the same as it was last year.

Leggett & Platt has average liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1.26, which shows the company can technically meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth decreased 13.93% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $25.84. The stock closed Friday at $22.42 and has fallen 2.69% year to date.


Legg Mason

The asset management company had $631 billion in assets under management in January, up from $627 billion in December.

"With the cost streamlining now complete, operating margins are set to improve with the potential for additional tailwind from improving equity markets," Jefferies analysts wrote in a Feb. 27 report. "Flow trends will remain the focus as LM looks to build momentum heading into 2012. Early signs around investment performance and retail flow trends are generally encouraging."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.2%

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

Legg Mason is extremely liquid. Its Quick Ratio is 2.32, which shows the company can meet its short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, stockholders' net worth decreased 2.86% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $32.55. The stock closed Friday at $27.48 and has risen 14.26% year to date.

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Wyndham Worldwide

The hospitality services company's subsidiary Wyndham Hotel Group launched its Super 8 brand in Germany on March 7.

"Post another steady fundamental quarter, a tempered though largely positive outlook, and further evidence of strong and sustainable free cash flow generation, we are reiterating our Buy rating and raising our price target to $50 from $41," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a Feb. 8 report. "We continue to see WYN as a sturdy capital deployment to shareholder story, which we believe will continue to resonate with investors in times of macro uncertainty."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.1%

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

Wyndham Worldwide has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.67, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth decreased 23.48% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $56.55. The stock closed Friday at $44.15 and has risen 16.71% year to date.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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