9 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: State Street ( STT), Raymond James Financial ( RJF), Air Products & Chemicals ( APD), Fulton Financial ( FULT), Liberty Property Trust ( LRY), Medicis Pharmaceutical ( MRX), Realty Income ( O), Valspar ( VAL) and Wolverine Worldwide ( WWW).

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

State Street

The financial services company is scheduled to report its first-quarter earnings on April 16. Analysts, on average, anticipate earnings of 88 cents a share on revenue of $2.34 billion.

"STT comes closest in our view to a pure play on the core business of asset servicing, providing key functions to fund managers worldwide," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a March 16 report. "It generates 43% of its revenue from servicing, driven mainly by the value of serviced assets, with another 26% coming from an investing portfolio funded largely by client deposits."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.1%

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

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 9.05% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $51.99. The stock closed Tuesday at $45.49 and has risen 12.85% year to date.

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Raymond James Financial

"Management commented that the Morgan Keegan acquisition is on track to close on April 2, with 98% of MK's financial advisors indicating their intent to stay on board," Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analysts wrote in a March 21 report. "Earlier in the day, RJF announced its third round of financing with a senior note (in February it issued 11M shares and a $350M senior note). It commented that this quarter's EPS would be unfavorably impacted given the timing of the raise since the deal will close after the quarter."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.4%

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

In the first quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 9.55% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $42.54. The stock closed Tuesday at $37.36 and the stock has risen 20.67% year to date.


Air Products & Chemicals

The specialty gases company is scheduled to report its second-quarter earnings on April 23. Analysts, on average, expects earnings of $1.40 a share on revenue of $2.52 billion.

"We continue to believe APD offers a compelling investment opportunity given its relatively defensive characteristics, attractive valuation (relative to historical norms and its main US competitor) and potential for earnings upside (relative to our estimates) tied to Electronics as well as operational improvements in Europe and the US," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a March 1 report. "Their F1Q earnings report got any potential bad news (i.e., F2Q guidance) out of the way, which should set the stage for the stock to outperform its industrial gas peers."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.8%

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

Air Products & Chemicals has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.83, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the first quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 1.70% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $103.49. The stock closed Tuesday at $91.71 and has risen 7.65% year to date.

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Fulton Financial

The financial holding company's CEO R. Scott Smith Jr. announced he plans to retire on Dec. 31. Current Chief Operating Officer E. Philip Wenger will replace him.

"Long-term, Susquehanna (SUSQ, $8.78, Buy) remains our preferred way to play the mid-Atlantic," Jefferies analysts wrote in a March 7 report. "At 11x 2012, SUSQ is one multiple cheaper than FULT with no deal risk as the company takes a breather from M&A activity following close of Abington and Tower bank deals in the last six months. Additionally, SUSQ has more positive catalysts than FULT in 2012 including: NIM expansion (FHLB refis), cost saves, credit leverage and dividend hikes."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.7%

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 5.96% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $12.02. The stock closed Tuesday at $10.49 and has risen 6.93% year to date.


Liberty Property Trust

The real estate investment trust reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $34.8 million, or 30 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $30.1 million, or 27 cents a share.

"We believe LRY has loaded the spring for net new investments, which should drive strong earnings and NAV growth in 2013 and beyond," Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a March 14 report. "We like the upside potential that LRY holds, and its low balance sheet leverage, but believe the NAV is now in line with its share price."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 5.5%

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

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 1.02% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $38.99. The stock closed Tuesday at $35.40 and has risen 14.64% year to date.

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Medicis Pharmaceutical

The drug company reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $58.9 million, or 95 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $23.9 million, or 39 cents a share.

"We believe the newly-launched metereddose pump for Zyclara is starting to gain traction, and with Rx's for the overall imiquimod market continuing to grow, the prospects for significant growth in Zyclara franchise sales are strong in our view," Piper Jaffray analysts wrote in a March 21 report. "We believe Zyclara sales could exceed $125M in 2013. When coupled with steady contribution from Solodyn and likely continued favorable dynamics for the aesthetics business, EPS growth for MRX in 2013 could be well in excess of 20% (on top of >20% growth this year). With strong EPS growth and a 2013 P/E of only ~11x, we continue to believe MRX shares are attractively valued. We reiterate our Overweight rating and $45 PT."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.1%

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

Medicis Pharmaceutical has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.84, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth remained about the same as it did a year ago.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $46.34. The stock closed Tuesday at $38.50 and has risen 15.79% year to date.


Realty Income

The commercial real estate acquirer reported last month fourth-quarter earnings of $34.9 million, or 26 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $31.8 million, or 28 cents a share.

"Realty Income has outperformed the REIT Index since June 30, 2011, returning 12.6% compared to the REIT Industry's 4.7%,"Morgan Keegan analysts wrote in a Feb. 15 report. "O currently trades at 18.1x our 2012 FFO per share estimate, the broader equity REIT industry is at 17.4x and closest peer NNN (Market Perform Rated) is at 15.8x. While we believe the net-lease sector offers some defensive value and a relatively attractive dividend, we see no catalyst for share out-performance against the broader REIT Index."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 4.6%

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

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 22.08% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $43.84. The stock closed Tuesday at $38.76 and has risen 10.87% year to date.

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Valspar

The coating and paint company reported last month first-quarter earnings of $55.8 million, or 60 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $33.4 million, or 35 cents a share.

"In a challenging demand environment, Valspar Corporation (VAL-NYSE) managed to produce strong results in its fiscal 1Q12 with EPS of $0.62 vs. $0.39 a year ago," KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts wrote in a Feb. 17 report. "Moving forward, we do expect some businesses to remain less than robust in terms of volume, specifically the U.S. DIY market, the Australian architectural market, and packaging coatings in Europe and North America. However, the Company should keep on benefiting from new business wins, strength in its coil, general industrial and powder coatings businesses and growth in the Asian and South American markets. We also expect total profitability to improve further moving into the seasonally stronger fiscal 2Q12 and 3Q12 due to the operating leverage, pricing actions and benefits from restructuring despite raw materials beginning to move upward once again. We are raising our full-year FY12 and FY13 EPS estimates to $3.10 (was $3.05) and $3.50 (was $3.35) accordingly. Our general bias toward VAL is positive, but our rating remains HOLD based on valuation."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.6%

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

Valspar has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.95, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the first quarter, stockholders' net worth decreased 22.69% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $55.58. The stock closed Tuesday at $49.37 and has risen 26.69% year to date.


Wolverine Worldwide

The apparel company reported on Jan. 30 fourth-quarter earnings of $23 million, or 47 cents a share, down from year-earlier earnings of $25.6 million, or 52 cents a share.

"4Q earnings outperformance in a weak demand environment highlights the strength of the Wolverine business model, which is marked by a broad brand portfolio that offers downside protection, a pricing strategy that limits discounting and allows for margin protection, and strong control of SG&A expense," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a Jan. 30 report. "Near-term demand headwinds and subsequent deleverage are going to hold back earnings growth to 2H, though, suggesting that some patience is in order for longer-term investors."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.2%

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

Wolverine Worldwide is extremely liquid. Its Quick Ratio is 2.42, which shows the company can meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 6.38% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $45.65. The stock closed Tuesday at $39.95 and has risen 12.09% year to date.

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-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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