Ex-Dividend Stocks: Johnson & Johnson, McGraw-Hill

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: Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), McGraw-Hill ( MHP), Assurant ( AIZ), Dun & Bradstreet ( DNB), Nordson ( NDSN), QEP Resources ( QEP) and Six Flags Entertainment ( SIX).

Johnson & Johnson

The health care products company announced last month it raised its quarterly dividend 7% to 61 cents a share.

"We believe JNJ's business is starting to turn the corner from many of the challenges of 2010 and expect the pipeline to deliver accelerating growth," Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a May 15 report.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 3.9%

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McGraw-Hill

The information services company reported first-quarter earnings on April 24 of $123 million, or 43 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $120 million, or 39 cents.

"It seems increasingly apparent that positive, incremental newsflow around further costs savings, over and above the announced US$100m and application of free cash flows may well be kept in the locker for announcement post Plan," Jefferies analysts wrote in an April 25 report.

The company plans to split into two companies, spinning off its smaller education division.

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.3%


Assurant

The specialized insurance company reported first-quarter earnings on April 25 of $163.3 million, or $1.81 a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $140.8 million, or $1.38.

"We reiterate our negative near-term view on AIZ shares following Day 1 ofthe NYDFS hearings which focused on low loss ratios relative to filed rateassumptions and included calls for a minimum loss ratio (80% was mentioned veryconsistently)," Sterne Agee analysts wrote in a May 18 report. "We believe the tone, combined with several new data points, bode poorly for the potential size and profitability of the business going forward."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.4%

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Dun & Bradstreet

The commercial information company reported on May 7 first-quarter earnings of $63.4 million, or $1.32 a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $49.8 million, or $1.

"The North American business is struggling to add customers and D&B has decided to close a Chinese subsidiary due to illegal practices," Benchmark analysts wrote in a May 9 report. "We maintain our Hold rating and our new price target of $68 price target is based on 10x 2012E EPS."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 2.2%


Nordson

The fluid management products and systems company reported on Monday second-quarter net income of $52.1 million, or 80 cents a share, down from year-earlier earnings of $65.2 million, or 95 cents.

"We believe that Q2/12 should provide for stronger sequential results with an increase in backlog for Q1/12 and visibility for a 2H/12 recovery," Barrington analysts wrote in a report Monday. "We expect stronger results for North America to offset softness in Europe for Q2/12."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 1%

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QEP Resources

The oil and natural gas exploration and production company reported first-quarter earnings on April 24 of $155.2 million, or 87 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $73.2 million, or 41 cents.

"We continue to see QEP as a viable liquids transition story (via upstream &midstream) with inexpensive natural gas optionality. Q1 proved challenging to forecast due to moving parts for both volumes and pricing in the midstream," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in an April 25 report. "Our view remains that management understands the intrinsic value of the asset and will position QEP to realize value (from upstream & midstream) over the coming 12 months. While we acknowledge the near-term outlook is catalyst light; we maintain our Buy rating following Q1 results."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 0.3%


Six Flags Entertainment

The theme park company reported on April 25 a first-quarter loss of $115.1 million, or $2.11 a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $148.5 million, or $2.67.

"While it still very early in the operating season, we believe SIX has laid out a sound strategy, which should continue to drive positive operating trends and we remain impressed with management's solid execution on these initiatives," KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts wrote in an April 25 report. "That said, we believe much of the operational improvement, primarily on the cost front, has been realized and we would expect further improvements in key operating metrics to be more challenging and come at a more moderate pace, specifically on admissions per capita. Longer-term, we believe SIX operates in an attractive industry and we believe management is fully committed to enhancing shareholder value, which would be a catalyst in the way of stock repurchases and further dividend increases. However, we view high investor expectations, recently strong stock performance and a potential moderation in key operating metrics compared to recent years as somewhat limiting factors in really driving significant near-term outperformance. As such, we await a more attractive entry point and therefore maintain our HOLD rating on the stock."

Forward Annual Dividend Yield: 5.4%

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-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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