5 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: ConAgra ( CAG), Eaton Vance ( EV), Scholastic ( SCHL), Tanger Factory Outlet ( SKT) and Unum ( UNM).

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

ConAgra

ConAgra announced on April 17 that it agreed to acquire Odom's Tennessee Pride, a maker of breakfast sandwiches.

"ConAgra reported F3Q12 EPS of $0.51 vs. our and consensus $0.48 estimate,with upside driven by lower than expected corporate expense," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a March 22 report. "Key takeaways from conference call: 1) F12 EPS is expected to be at the low end of managements guidance for LSD-MSD growth, due to the challenging consumer environment, with modest growth in F4Q12. 2) Consumer Foods profits are expected to grow modestly in F4Q12, benefitting from moderating commodity cost inflation which peaked at 11% in F3Q12, as a majority of pricing is already in place. However, Consumer volumes are expected to remain weak. 3) Commercial Foods profits are expected to grow strongly due to continued solid results from Lamb Weston and improved results from ConAgra Mills. 4) A&P spending is now expected to decline modestly for F12 versus previous expectations of a slight increase."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3.7%

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

ConAgra has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.71, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 8.77% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $32.15.

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Eaton Vance

Laurie Hylton was named the company's Chief Financial Officer in March. Hylton was previously Eaton Vance's chief accounting officer.

"We estimate that EV may have experienced roughly -$1bn of outflows over the course of February & March," Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analysts wrote in an April 11 report.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.9%

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

In the first quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 2.90% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $30.56.


Scholastic

The children's publishing and media company revised its third-quarter results on March 21 following a ruling from the Supreme Court of Connecticut regarding its sales tax. Scholastic's loss widened to $10.3 million, or 33 cents a share, from its prior calculated loss of $3.2 million, or 10 cents.

"The ruling and accrual do not change the Scholastic story, nor does the enthusiasm surrounding The Hunger Games (opening this week)," Gabelli analysts wrote in a March 22 report. They added, "Assuming the movie comes close to living up to its hype, it could drive some additional book sales in 4Q. More importantly, a successful movie will enhance the evergreen value of Suzanne Collins' books. Her next book should also get a bigger jump start. And, the success of the movie and author solidifies the company's position with other authors and agents."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.5%

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

Scholastic has weak liquidity. Its Quick Ratio is 0.7, which demonstrates a lack of ability to meet its short-term cash needs.

In the third quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 11.94% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $39.21.

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Tanger Factory Outlet Centers

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers reported Tuesday first-quarter earnings of $8 million, or 9 cents a share, down from year-earlier earnings of $9.2 million, or 11 cents..

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.7%

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

In the fourth quarter, stockholders' net worth increased 25.51% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $36.23.


Unum Group

The disability insurance company is scheduled to report its first-quarter results on May 1. Analysts, on average, anticipate earnings of 76 cents a share on revenue of $2.59 billion.

"In our view, UNM is the most undervalued lower risk name on our coverage list," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a March 23 report.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1.8%

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 4.1% from the prior year.

TheStreet Ratings' price target is $27.20.

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-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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