8 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: Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY), Cisco Systems ( CSCO), Discover Financial Services ( DFS), Gap ( GPS), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Monsanto ( MON), Sysco ( SYY) and Whole Foods Market ( WFM).

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

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Referring to Eliquis' action date, Leerink Swann analysts wrote in a March 1 report, "If BMY shares trade down >2% more than the market on this news, we'd be buyers ahead of a potential panel announcement given BMY's still-strong pipeline, likelihood of a best-in-class Eliquis label, and upcoming Phase II data at EASL for their NS5a inhibitor, SubQ Orencia vs. Humira data at EULAR, and most importantly, expanded Phase I/II data for anti-PD1 in various solid tumors at ASCO."

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.

Bristol-Myers Squibb has average liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1.41, which shows the company can technically meet its short-term cash needs.

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 1.54% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $43.18. The stock closed Friday at $33.75 and has declined 4.23% year to date.

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Cisco Systems

Cisco said Wednesday that it intends to acquire ClearAccess, which creates software related to residential and mobile devices.

"We rate Cisco a Buy based on our belief that it can deliver high single digits EPS growth on mid single digits sales growth, ex acquisitions," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a March 21 report. "We believe that portfolio challenges are behind, and see stable to improving outlook for margins. The slower growth in switching and routing will cap Cisco's growth, however, we believe Cisco will be a beneficiary of growth within data center, collaboration, telepresence and service provider with its architectural strategy."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.5%

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

Cisco Systems is extremely liquid. Its Quick Ratio is 3.08, which shows the company can meet its short-term cash needs.

In the second quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 7.89% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $23.54. The stock closed Friday at $21.15 and has risen 16.98% year to date.


Discover Financial Services

The financial services firm reported earlier this month first-quarter earnings of $624 million, or $1.18 a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $508 million, or 95 cents.

"In addition to a better credit outlook, highlights from the investor day includeexpectations for a successful buildout of a direct banking model and emerginggrowth opportunities for the card and payments business that we believe willdrive mid-high single digit operating income growth for DFS," Guggenheim analysts wrote in a March 26 report.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.2%

Rated "A- (Buy)" by TheStreet Ratings: In the first quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 27.97% from the previous year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $42.64. The stock closed Friday at $33.34 and has risen 38.92% year to date.

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Gap

The retailer releases monthly sales data on Thursday.

"GPS is one of the cheapest names in our coverage universe with several positive catalysts in 2012 including improved product, management changes, and cotton tailwinds in the back half of the year," Jefferies analysts wrote in a March 19 report. "We believe margins have significant upside from current levels while the stock's downside remains protected by a stellar balance sheet and strong cash flows. We would aggressively be buying shares at current levels."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.9%

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

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth decreased 32.47% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $30.31. The stock closed Friday at $26.14 and has fallen 2.02% year to date.


JPMorgan Chase

The bank is scheduled to report its first-quarter earnings on April 13. Analysts, on average, anticipate earnings of $1.12 a share on revenue of $24.48 billion.

"Given the improved fixed income trading environment helped by tighter spreads across variety of assets (especially credit and mortgage), we are raising our 1Q12 FICC trading forecasts, lending support to 1Q EPS estimates," Citi analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "Our top picks into the qtr are GS and JPM where we are 25% and 15% ahead of consensus, which we both see benefiting from strong FICC trading; our least favored stock is LAZ where we are ~60% below consensus due to slower M&A advisory completions and deferred comp headwinds."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.6%

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

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 4.24% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $51.57. The stock closed Friday at $45.98 and has risen 38.29% year to date.

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Monsanto

The agricultural products company is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings on Tuesday. Analysts, on average, expect earnings of $2.12 a share on revenue of $4.53 billion.

"While we believe that consensus expectations for sharply higher stocksto-use indications in upcoming USDA reports may weigh on sentiment, we see Monsanto's 2Q results as a potential positive catalyst for the stock," Piper Jaffray analysts wrote in a March 2 report. "Fears of seed shortages appear to be driving growers to take delivery of seed earlier, which should provide MON the visibility & confidence to lift guidance despite the early stage of the season."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.5%

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

Monsanto has average liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1.02, which shows that the company can technically meet its short-term cash needs.

In the first quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 9.86% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $90.52. The stock closed Friday at $79.76 and has risen 13.83% year to date.


Sysco

The food products company reported last month second-quarter earnings of $250.1 million, or 43 cents a share, down from year-earlier earnings of $258.2 million, or 44 cents.

"We continue to rate Sysco's stock Underperform, as we see further downside risk to the stock at the current valuation," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a Feb. 6 report. "We expect the company to continue to chase volume given the lack of industry growth, Business Transformation costs should continue to rise and likely not peak until 2013 now, and inflation (a tailwind to gross profit dollars) seems poised to eventually decelerate. Our estimates are 5-7% below the street for the remainder of fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013."

Forward annual Dividend Yield: 3.6%

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

Sysco has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.99, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the second quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 17.35% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $34.50. The stock closed Friday at $29.86 and has risen 1.81% year to date.

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Whole Foods Market

The food retailer reported last month first-quarter earnings of $118.3 million, or 66 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $88.7 million, or 51 cents.

"We are downgrading WFM to Neutral from Buy," Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "Our view of the fundamental story is unchanged: WFM is a secular winner, with significant opportunity to grow its store base, expand margins, and improve its return on capital. However, with only 2.8% upside to our upwardly revised price target, after increasing our estimates, we see better opportunities elsewhere in our coverage, prompting a Neutral rating. Since we added WFM to the Buy List on 7/10/11, the shares are + 33% vs. the S&P 500 +4.4%. Over the past 12 months, WFM is +35% vs. the S&P +7%."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 0.7%

Rated "A+ (Buy)" by TheStreet Ratings: The company's first-quarter earnings were about the same as they were last year.

Whole Foods Market has average liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 1.25, which shows the company can technically meet its short-term cash needs.

In the first quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 26.57% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $108.87. The stock closed Friday at $83.20 and has risen 19.57% year to date.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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