10 Ex-Dividend Stocks With Buy Ratings

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The following stocks go ex-dividend Wednesday, meaning an investor must purchase the shares Tuesday to qualify for the next dividend payment: Western Union ( WU), Total ( TOT), Rayonier ( RYN), National Oilwell Varco ( NOV), Mead Johnson ( MJN), Hollyfrontier ( HFC), Fidelity National Financial ( FNF), Equity One ( EQY), DST Systems ( DST), Chubb ( CB) and Ametek ( AME).

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

Western Union

The money transferring company reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $452.3 million, or 73 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $242.6 million, or 37 cents.

"While WU should have better managed expectations around '12 margins, and the margin expansion part of the story has been pushed out a year, we believe the investments which are inhibiting near-term margin improvement (WU.com, mobile) will help promote longer-term top-line growth," Jefferies analysts wrote in a March 6 report. "At ~$100M in revs, WU.com likely makes WU the largest player in online money transfer, which we expect will remain dwarfed by the traditional cash-based model for the foreseeable future, but we believe is generally additive rather than cannibalistic to WU's core business."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.3%

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

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 53.56% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $20.07. The stock closed Monday at $17.78 and has declined 2.63% year to date.

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Total

The French integrated oil and gas company acquired a 40% stake in the Block 3 exploration license in Yemen from Oil Search earlier this month.

"The picture post 2015 looks better as large projects (eg, Ichthys LNG, Uganda and Angola's Block 32) make development progress," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a Feb. 13 report. "However, this growth is not coming cheaply as capital intensity continues to grow and limits somewhat Total's ability to increase cash returns (4Q dividend of EUR0.57/sh, flat QoQ was inline with expectations)."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.4%

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

Total has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.74, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 10.10% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $64.61. The stock closed Monday at $55.37 and has risen 8.33% year to date.


Rayonier

The timberland management company reported fourth-quarter earnings on Jan. 24 of $56 million, or 45 cents a share, down from year-ago earnings of $59 million, or 48 cents.

"RYN's Performance Fibers business participates in niche and growing end markets that allow for increased participation," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a March 8 report. "Moreover, these markets are defensive given significant capital costs in adding capacity, technological barriers, high switching costs, and a 1-2 year product qualifying period. Further, investor concerns regarding capacity additions appear to be overdone as such expansions/conversions are primarily targeting commodity viscose, an area where RYN does not participate."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3.6%

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

Rayonier has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.98, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 5.71% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $56. The stock closed Monday at $45.62 and has risen 2.22% year to date.

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National Oilwell Varco

The oil and gas drilling products company acquired pipe products company NKT Flexibles for $670 million last month.

"Petrobras announced plans to build 26 new deepwater drilling rigs in Brazilian shipyards with deliveries scheduled over the next 45-90 months," Sterne Agee analysts wrote in a Feb. 10 report. " The analysts added, "The PBR announcement is a clear plus for NOV and likely CAM as the significant new rig equipment orders are likely to meet PBR's needs."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 0.6%

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

National Oilwell Varco 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 increased 11.88% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $98.80. The stock closed Monday at $80.08 and has risen 17.78% year to date.


Mead Johnson Nutrition

The nutritional products company formed a joint venture with Argentinian dairy producer SanCor Cooperativas Unidas last month to provide products in Argentina.

"Management discussed the likelihood that growth would accelerate in Latin America, with infant feeding being under-developed in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a Feb. 22 report. "Brazil is already a top 10 market for MJN, and the company feels there is significant room to grow. Eight of MJN's top 10 markets are in Asia or Latin America, both of which are growing very quickly."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.5%

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

Mead Johnson Nutrition has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 51.25% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $100.75. The stock closed Monday at $79.99 and has risen 16.38%.

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Hollyfrontier

The petroleum refiner reported last month fourth-quarter earnings $223.4 million, or $1.06 a share, up from year-ago earnings of $14.7 million, or 13 cents.

"On top of the $0.10 regular dividend, HFC paid its second $0.50/share special dividend, and recently authorized another for 1Q12," Oppenheimer analysts wrote in a Feb. 28 report. "It also authorized a $350M share repurchase last month, replacing the existing $100M program."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.1%

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

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $46.41. The stock closed Monday at $35.50 and has risen 51.71% year to date.


Fidelity National Financial

The mortgage services company reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $172.7 million, or 80 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $130.8 million, or 58 cents.

"While we are positive on the longer-term outlook, we expect industry mortgage volumes to trend down over the next 12-18 months," Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analysts wrote in a March 1 report. "Over the long-term, we believe strong title insurers, such as FNF, should provide an attractive way to get exposure to a recovery in the purchase mortgage market."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3.2%

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

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 5.99% from the previous year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $21.45. The stock closed Monday at $17.68 and has risen 9.81% year to date.

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Equity One

The real estate investment trust reported last month fourth-quarter loss of $3.7 million, or 4 cents a share, a reversal from year-ago earnings of $8.3 million, or 9 cents.

"Overall, we think EQY's 4Q results were fine, though fundamentals are not yet showing the consistency of improvement that we would like," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a Feb. 24 report. "However, there were notable positives in the details, including a solid leasing pipeline, continued execution on its portfolio repositioning plans, and what should be an expanding development pipeline. While we think the fundamentals will eventually show more consistent improvement, we believe the shares are fairly priced at current levels."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 4.7%

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

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 10.21% from the previous year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $21.74. The stock closed Monday at $18.87 and has risen 11.13% year to date.


Chubb

The property and casualty insurance company reported on Jan. 26 fourth-quarter earnings of $452 million, or $1.60 a share, down from year-ago earnings of $620 million, or $2.02 a share.

"While the shares trade at a premium to peers, the company's financial strength, highlighted by its consistently strong reserve position justify the premium in our view," Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analysts wrote in a March 8 report. "Together with strong operating franchises, we believe Chubb is well-positioned in a marketplace going through change."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.4%

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

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

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $81.95. The stock closed Monday at $67.77 and has fallen 2.09% year to date.

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Ametek

The electromechanical devices company reported on Jan. 26 fourth-quarter earnings of $101.9 million, or 64 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $81.2 million, or 51 cents.

"In 2012, the company plans to invest about $35 million in growth-oriented activities," Gabelli analysts wrote in a March 7 report. "R&D spending is expected to increase about 13%, over last year, focused heavily on the CRIB (China, Russia, India and Brazil) countries. Similar investments resulted in an 18% increase in orders in 4Q11 and could increase more with the additional investments."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 0.5%

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

Ametek has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.98, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 15.63% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $54.87. The stock closed Monday at $48.19 and has risen 14.47% year to date.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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