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: Kraft Foods ( KFT), Dow Chemical ( DOW), Deere ( DE), Nucor ( NUE), Ralph Lauren ( RL), Dillard's ( DDS), Franklin Resources ( BEN), Canadian Pacific Railway ( CP), Focus Media ( FMCN) and TransCanada ( TRP).

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

Kraft Foods

The food products company announced last week that it is going to name its global snacks business Mondelez International. The company is dividing into a North American grocery firm and global snacks business.

"Kraft Foods filed an 8-K in which it disclosed its wholly-owned subsidiary, Kraft Foods Global, Inc., entered into a $4.0B 364-day revolving credit agreement," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a March 15 report. "Kraft Foods, Inc. is a guarantor of the revolving credit facility, although the guarantee will automatically terminate 'upon the consummation of the previously announced proposed spin-off of our North American grocery business.' Kraft management has previously indicated it plans to complete the spin-off by the end of 2012."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3%

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

Kraft Foods has very weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.45, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth decreased 1.72% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $46.67. The stock closed Monday at $38.63 and has risen 3.4% year to date.

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Dow Chemical

The chemical products company announced Sunday that it is investing in a coatings facility in Saudi Arabia.

"While near-term concerns on volume and optimism on ethane-ethylene margins dominate for now (and we are raising estimates as a result of the latter), some stabilization in the demand outlook later in Q2/Q3 could shift the discussion back to Dow's potential earnings power at the peak of the ethylene cycle (likely 2015) and/or into the next mid-cycle (we benchmark 2020)," Jefferies analysts wrote in a March 8 report.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.9%

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

Dow Chemical has average liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1.11, which shows the company can technically meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 2.02% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $39.81. The stock closed Monday at $35.68 and has risen 24.06% year to date.


Deere

The agriculture services company raised its quarterly dividend 5 cents, or 12%, to 46 cents a share. This dividend will be paid on May 1.

"We continue to believe that valuation multiples on DE's stock will remain constrained until investors have better visibility on (1) farmer cash flow trends and F2013 volume prospects or (2) impact of new capacity on normalized earnings power," Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a March 13 report.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.3%

Rated "A- (Buy)" by TheStreet Ratings: The company's first-quarter gross profit margins were basically the same as they were last year.

In the first quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 2.80% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' has a $92.90 price target on Deere. The stock closed Monday at $82.78 and has risen 7.02% year to date.

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Nucor

The steel company reported on Jan. 26 fourth-quarter earnings of $137.1 million, or 43 cents a share, up from a year-ago loss of $11.4 million, or 4 cents a share.

"We are lowering our 1Q12E EPS for NUE to $0.38 from $0.55, relative to the management's guidance of $0.30 - 0.35 including an estimated $0.03 LIFO charge," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a March 20 report. "In addition to the LIFO charge not originally included in our forecast and weaker metal margins, the variance appears driven by an unexpected margin headwind in the raw material business. We expect the raw material volatility in the quarter will generate questions during the upcoming earnings call regarding the cause and magnitude of this margin weakness."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3.4%

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

Nucor has strong liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1.78, which shows the company can meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 4.98% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $49.54. The stock closed Monday at $43.76 and has risen 10.59% year to date.


Ralph Lauren

The retailer reported last month third-quarter earnings of $169 million, or $1.78 a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $168 million, or $1.72 a share.

"F3Q total rev up 17% (including strong DD% US growth) and wholesale rev up 11% (led by men's, kid's, Denim & Supply, and Europe rollout of ftwr, Lauren, Club Monaco) is expected to moderate in F4Q to LDD% (wholesale rev and retail comp), as a result of unseasonably warm weather and a highly promotional env't in the US and Europe, as well as a deceleration in tourist sales relative to 1H11," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a Feb. 10 report.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 0.5%

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

Ralph Lauren has strong liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1.72, which shows the company can meet its short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 3.41% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $222.73. The stock closed Monday at $177.14 and has risen 28.29% year to date.

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Dillard's

The retailer reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $141.5 million, or $2.82 a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $109.6 million, or $1.77 a share.

"Shoes and accessories alone make up 30% of DDS business, and we have no doubt that this helped to drive the company's 3% increase in same store sales (SSS) and further expansion of its operating margin (+40 bps)," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a Feb. 23 report. "Looking ahead, now that the retail gross margin appears to have stabilized (flat to down 10 bps in each of the last three quarters), further expansion of the operating margin will likely need to result from continued top line improvement."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 0.3%

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

Dillard's has very weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.29, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth decreased 2% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $77.59. The stock closed Monday at $63.89 and has risen 42.36% year to date.


Franklin Resources

The asset management firm had $727.4 billion in assets under management in February, which topped both January's number of $704.3 billion and year-ago assets under management of $693.7 billion.

"BEN reported Feb month-end AUM of $727.4B, an increase of 3.3% m/m and slightly below our estimate of $730.0B," Jefferies analysts wrote in a March 9 report. "Net flows appear positive but likely totaled less than $1B during the month. Equity flows were modestly weaker than last month, while fixed income exhibited a m/m improvement. Importantly, trends in the global fixed income category continue to improve."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 0.9%

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

In the first quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 1.77% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $141.67. The stock closed Monday at $125.16 and has risen 30.29% year to date.

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Canadian Pacific Railway

The railway company has a presentation planned Tuesday for investors and analysts.

"We continue to believe that a 65% OR in 2015 (Pershing and Mr Harrison's target) is largely factored into CP's current price, and that the stock is trading near the high end of our comfort zone," Desjardins Capital Markets analysts wrote in a March 23 report. "We reiterate our Hold-Average Risk rating. Based on 2015 consensus EPS (which assumes a 69.6% OR), the stock is trading at a P/E of 10.5x, above its peer average of 9.8x (8.3x excluding CN and KSU). Based on our rough estimate of C$8.81 EPS for 2015 (assuming a 65% OR), we derive a P/E of 8.9x, which is largely in line with peer valuations but entails a higher level of risk. We continue to prefer CN over CP for 2012, as we believe there is greater potential upside for CN at current levels, given its growth opportunities (refer to our Morning Pulse comment dated February 13, 2012 for details), top-notch management and stronger balance sheet."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.6%

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

Canadian Pacific Railway has very weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.47, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth decreased 3.64% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $90.19. The stock closed Monday at $79.69 and has risen 17.76% year to date.


Focus Media

The digital media company reported on March 19 fourth-quarter earnings of $75.4 million, or 57 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $47.2 million, or 35 cents a share.

"We are particularly positive on margin improvement in poster frame business," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a report Monday. "FMCN maintains earlier expectation that 2012 YoY revenue growth would be ~20%-25%. Given good value of its platform and attractive valuation, we upgraded FMCN to OW, with Dec-12 PT of US$36."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.6%

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

Focus Media Holding is extremely liquid. Its Quick Ratio is 2.76, which shows the company can meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 7.57% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $32.68. The stock closed Monday at $28.44 and has risen 45.92% year to date.

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TransCanada

The energy infrastructure company announced last month that it is going to build and operate the Tamazunchale Pipeline Extension in Mexico.

"On February 27, TransCanada announced that it was proceeding with the Gulf Coast Project, which will have a capacity of 700,000 Bbls/d, at a cost of US$2.3 billion," CIBC analysts wrote in a March 21 report. "When it announced the project, TransCanada expected to start construction in Q3/12, with an in-service date of mid- to late 2013."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 4%

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

TransCanada has very weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.35, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 3.56% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $51.83. The stock closed Monday at $44.38 and has risen 1.63% year to date.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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