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Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, 21 U.S. common stocks are scheduled to go ex-dividend. The dividend yields on these stocks range from 0.3% to 9.4%. All of these stocks can be found on our stocks going ex-dividend section of our dividend calendar.

Highlighted Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Tuesday:

Solar Senior Capital

Owners of Solar Senior Capital (NASDAQ: SUNS) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 12 cents per share. At a price of $18.21 as of 4:00 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 7.8%.

The average volume for Solar Senior Capital has been 29,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Solar Senior Capital has a market cap of $207.7 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 3.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Solar Senior Capital Ltd. is a business development company specializing in investments in leveraged, middle-market companies in the United States. The fund invests in the form of senior secured loans, including first lien, unitranche, and second lien debt instruments. The company has a P/E ratio of 26.12.

TheStreet Ratings rates Solar Senior Capital as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and relatively poor performance when compared with the S&P 500 during the past year. You can view the full Solar Senior Capital Ratings Report now.

MFS Charter Income

Owners of MFS Charter Income (NYSE: MCR) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 5 cents per share. At a price of $8.97 as of 4:02 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 6.4%.

The average volume for MFS Charter Income has been 151,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. MFS Charter Income has a market cap of $491.8 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 11.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Main Street Capital Corporation

Owners of Main Street Capital Corporation (NYSE: MAIN) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 25 cents per share. At a price of $31.75 as of 4:01 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 6.1%.

The average volume for Main Street Capital Corporation has been 215,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Main Street Capital Corporation has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 5.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Main Street Capital Corporation is a business development company specializing in long- term equity, equity related, and debt investments in small and lower middle market companies. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.41.

TheStreet Ratings rates Main Street Capital Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. You can view the full Main Street Capital Corporation Ratings Report now.

Embraer S.A

Owners of Embraer S.A (NYSE: ERJ) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 13 cents per share. At a price of $30.97 as of 4:05 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 0.3%.

The average volume for Embraer S.A has been 1.3 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Embraer S.A has a market cap of $5.5 billion and is part of the aerospace/defense industry. Shares are up 5.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Embraer S.A. primarily develops, produces, and sells jet and turboprop aircrafts for civil and defense aviation markets in Brazil, North America, Latin America, the Asia Pacific, Europe, and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.77.

TheStreet Ratings rates Embraer S.A as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share. You can view the full Embraer S.A Ratings Report now.

More About Dividends:

One benefit of owning a stock is the potential that you will be paid a dividend. The distribution of dividend payments is another way for a company to share its profit with you. A dividend means that the company pays you a certain amount of money, either as a one-time payment or more commonly on a quarterly basis, for each share of stock you own.

Many times, dividends come at the expense of greater price appreciation, because the company is distributing its profits to shareholders rather than reinvesting the profits back into the growth of the company. However, companies that pay dividends can be very attractive to investors when they offer a steady stream of income. There are some important terms and dates an investor should be familiar with before purchasing any dividend-paying companies. Let's work through an example to help better explain some of these terms:

On March 1, ABC Widget Company has decided that because it holds excess cash and lacks investment opportunities, it would like to reward shareholders with a regular quarterly dividend payment. The date for this particular announcement is known as the declaration date. It is on this date that the company announces the specific dividend payment along with the holder of record date (aka record date) and the payment date. The company announces that a dividend payment of 25 cents per share will be payable March 31, 2012 (the payment date) to all shareholders of record at the close of business on March 16, 2012 (holder of record date). What does this all mean? Well the short story is that the company looks at its records on March 16 and anyone listed on the books as an owner of ABC Widget company will be eligible for the dividend payment (on March 31).

The one other important term to remember is the ex-dividend date. The ex-dividend date (typically two trading days before the holder of record date for U.S. securities) is the day in which a company begins trading without the dividend. In order to have a claim on a dividend, shares must be purchased no later than the last business day before the ex-dividend date. A company trading ex-dividend will have the upcoming dividend subtracted from the share price at the start of the trading day. Many times, the price of a stock will increase in anticipation of the upcoming dividend as the ex-dividend date approaches, yet will fall back by the amount of the dividend on the ex-dividend date.

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