3 Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Monday: WSR, AEO, CMCSA

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, Monday, March 31, 2014, 4:00 AM ET, 6 U.S. common stocks are scheduled to go ex-dividend. The dividend yields on these stocks range from 1.8% to 10.9%. All of these stocks can be found on our stocks going ex-dividend section of our dividend calendar.

Highlighted Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Monday:

Whitestone REIT

Owners of Whitestone REIT (NYSE: WSR) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 10 cents per share. At a price of $14.50 as of 9:38 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 7.8%.

The average volume for Whitestone REIT has been 101,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Whitestone REIT has a market cap of $314.4 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 7.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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WhiteStone REIT is a Maryland REIT engaged in owning and operating commercial properties in culturally diverse markets in major metropolitan areas. The company has a P/E ratio of 73.25.

TheStreet Ratings rates Whitestone REIT as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. You can view the full Whitestone REIT Ratings Report now.

American Eagle Outfitters

Owners of American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 12 cents per share. At a price of $12.28 as of 9:41 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 3.9%.

The average volume for American Eagle Outfitters has been 5.8 million shares per day over the past 30 days. American Eagle Outfitters has a market cap of $2.4 billion and is part of the retail industry. Shares are down 15.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an apparel and accessories retailer in the United States and Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 29.81.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Eagle Outfitters as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity. You can view the full American Eagle Outfitters Ratings Report now.

Comcast

Owners of Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 22 cents per share. At a price of $49.66 as of 9:41 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 1.8%.

The average volume for Comcast has been 16.0 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Comcast has a market cap of $106.1 billion and is part of the media industry. Shares are down 5.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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Comcast Corporation operates as a media and technology company worldwide. It operates through Cable Communications, Cable Networks, Broadcast Television, Filmed Entertainment, and Theme Parks segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.62.

TheStreet Ratings rates Comcast as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. You can view the full Comcast 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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