4 With Upcoming Ex-Dividend Dates: MTN, BSMX, CVA, MO

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, 9 U.S. common stocks are scheduled to go ex-dividend. The dividend yields on these stocks range from 0.6% to 8.1%. All of these stocks can be found on our stocks going ex-dividend section of our dividend calendar.

Highlighted Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Monday:

Vail Resorts

Owners of Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 21 cents per share. At a price of $75.00 as of 9:33 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 1.1%.

The average volume for Vail Resorts has been 148,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Vail Resorts has a market cap of $2.7 billion and is part of the leisure industry. Shares are up 37.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates resorts in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Mountain, Lodging, and Real Estate. The company has a P/E ratio of 109.26.

TheStreet Ratings rates Vail Resorts as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. You can view the full Vail Resorts Ratings Report now.

Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico SAB de CV

Owners of Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico SAB de CV (NYSE: BSMX) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 96 cents per share. At a price of $14.23 as of 9:35 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 8.1%.

The average volume for Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico SAB de CV has been 1.7 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico SAB de CV has a market cap of $19.4 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 11.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

The company has a P/E ratio of 14.29.

Covanta Holding Corporation

Owners of Covanta Holding Corporation (NYSE: CVA) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 16 cents per share. At a price of $17.59 as of 9:35 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 3.8%.

The average volume for Covanta Holding Corporation has been 2.7 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Covanta Holding Corporation has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the materials & construction industry. Shares are down 4.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

Covanta Holding Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides waste and energy services to municipal entities primarily in North America. The company has a P/E ratio of 49.57.

TheStreet Ratings rates Covanta Holding Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. You can view the full Covanta Holding Corporation Ratings Report now.

Altria Group

Owners of Altria Group (NYSE: MO) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 48 cents per share. At a price of $38.25 as of 9:35 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 5%.

The average volume for Altria Group has been 7.3 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Altria Group has a market cap of $76.3 billion and is part of the tobacco industry. Shares are up 21.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

Altria Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.85.

TheStreet Ratings rates Altria Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. You can view the full Altria Group 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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