Ex-Dividend Stocks: Target, ConEd

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The following stocks go ex-dividend Monday, meaning an investor must purchase the shares Friday to qualify for the next dividend payment: Target ( TGT), Consolidated Edison ( ED), Aflac ( AFL), Amgen ( AMGN), CenterPoint Energy ( CNP) and Marathon Oil ( MRO).

Target

The discount retailer's first-quarter comparable-store sales, reported on May 3, rose 5.3%.

"We believe the optionality of accelerated earnings growth in the future combined with a relatively lower valuation is balanced by the challenges (and macro-dependence) of the business. The P-Fresh/REDcard contribution to comps has peaked placing increased reliance on the macro-dependent/discretionary areas of the store to drive sales (suggesting a decelerating comp trend through the year)," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a report Tuesday. "Additionally, EPS growth in 2012 is likely to be suppressed given roughly a $0.50 headwind from Canada expenses and ~$0.20 from lower profits in credit. Moreover, recent management turnover creates increased uncertainty in a tough environment while the company is pushing into Canada. While TGT looks seemingly inexpensive compared to its peers and historical valuation, we believe a relatively discounted multiple is justified. Near term, given the likelihood for a deceleration in same-store sales after a 300+ benefit from the Easter shift and the weather, we expect the stock to fade some of its recent performance."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.2%

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Consolidated Edison

The energy services company reported on May 3 first-quarter earnings of $277 million, or 95 cents a a share, down from year-earlier earnings of $311 million, or $1.07.

"We are attracted to ED's low-risk regulated strategy, generally constructive regulatory principles and 4.1% dividend yield," Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a report on Monday. "Our Market Perform rating primarily reflects valuation considerations. Shares trade at 10-15% premiums to the Regulated Electric Utility peer group median multiples on our 2013E and 2014E EPS and 4-7% premiums to the Large-Cap Regulated Electrics."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 4.1%


Aflac

The supplemental health and life insurance company reported on April 24 first-quarter earnings of $785 million, or $1.68 a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $389 million, or 83 cents.

"1Q provided reasons to be more constructive on AFL--the material EPS beat ($0.09 vs. consensus) provided a big head start toward meeting the company's 2012 guidance, and the company has completed 85% of its latest initiative to reduce risk and problem concentrations in the investment portfolio," Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analysts wrote in an April 29 report.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3%

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Amgen

The biotechnology company reported first-quarter earnings on April 24 of $1.2 billion, or $1.48 a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $1.1 billion, or $1.20.

"We rate AMGN Market Perform," Leerink Swann analysts wrote in an April 25 report. "The company delivers strong cash flow derived from three mature product franchises (Epogen/Aranesp for anemia, Neuopogen/Neulasta for chemo-induced neutropenia, and Enbrel for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions) and is in the process of adding a fourth blockbuster franchise with the ongoing launches of Prolia/Xgeva (denosumab for osteoporosis and for treatment of bone metastasis from solid tumors)."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.1%


CenterPoint Energy

The utility reported on May 3 first-quarter net income of $147 million, or 34 cents a share, down slightly from year-earlier earnings of $148 million, or 35 cents.

"We reiterate our Outperform rating as we believe the company offers relatively stable cash flows and the potential for above average growth driven by its midstream operations," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a report Tuesday.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 4.1%

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Marathon Oil

The energy company reported first-quarter net income of $417 million, or 59 cents a share, down from year-earlier earnings of $996 million, or $1.39.

"Upgrading to Buy from Hold (TSR 26%)," Societe Generale analysts wrote in a report on Monday. "Our $33/share reflects a 5.3x P/DCFPS multiple for 2012, near the midpoint of its typical 2.9x-6.7x range, but a 20% discount to the peer group average, to account for MRO's higher risk profile from wildcatting and exploitation. MRO has an expected 2.5% dividend yield, offering a total expected return of 26% over the next year. The Street may be disappointed with volume escalation from unconventional exploitation plays. Like other E&Ps, the risks to our TP are volatile wellhead pricing, operating costs, and volatile legal, regulatory and tax policy."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.6%

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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