Dividend Watch: 4 Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Tomorrow: OIA, JTP, NRK, ASH

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.

Tomorrow, Feb. 12, 2014, 196 U.S. common stocks are scheduled to go ex-dividend. The dividend yields on these stocks range from 0.1% to 23.8%. All of these stocks can be found on our stocks going ex-dividend section of our dividend calendar.

Highlighted Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Tomorrow:

AIM Investment Funds

Owners of AIM Investment Funds (NYSE: OIA) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 4 cents per share. At a price of $6.56 as of 9:35 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 6.5%.

The average volume for AIM Investment Funds has been 159,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. AIM Investment Funds has a market cap of $308.3 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 5.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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The company has a P/E ratio of 12.26.

Nuveen Quality Preferred Income Fund

Owners of Nuveen Quality Preferred Income Fund (NYSE: JTP) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 5 cents per share. At a price of $7.89 as of 9:34 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 7.9%.

The average volume for Nuveen Quality Preferred Income Fund has been 239,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Nuveen Quality Preferred Income Fund has a market cap of $508.3 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 2.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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The company has a P/E ratio of 6.05.

Nuveen NY AMT-Free Muni Income Fund

Owners of Nuveen NY AMT-Free Muni Income Fund (NYSE: NRK) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 7 cents per share. At a price of $12.58 as of 9:35 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 6.6%.

The average volume for Nuveen NY AMT-Free Muni Income Fund has been 271,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Nuveen NY AMT-Free Muni Income Fund has a market cap of $1.1 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 2.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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 13.94.

Ashland

Owners of Ashland (NYSE: ASH) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 34 cents per share. At a price of $93.76 as of 9:35 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 1.4%.

The average volume for Ashland has been 620,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ashland has a market cap of $7.4 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 3.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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

Ashland Inc. operates as a specialty chemicals company worldwide. The company operates through four segments: Ashland Specialty Ingredients, Ashland Water Technologies, Ashland Performance Materials, and Ashland Consumer Markets. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.93.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ashland as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, reasonable valuation levels, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. You can view the full Ashland 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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