Dividend Watch: 3 Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Tomorrow: HBHC, AJG, GCI

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, Wednesday, September 03, 2014, 43 U.S. common stocks are scheduled to go ex-dividend. The dividend yields on these stocks range from 0.1% to 7.7%. All of these stocks can be found on our stocks going ex-dividend section of our dividend calendar.

Highlighted Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Tomorrow:

Hancock Holding Company

Owners of Hancock Holding Company (NASDAQ: HBHC) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 24 cents per share. At a price of $33.43 as of 9:46 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 2.9%.

The average volume for Hancock Holding Company has been 372,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Hancock Holding Company has a market cap of $2.7 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 9.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Hancock Holding Company operates as the bank holding company for Hancock Bank that provides a range of community banking services to commercial, small business, and retail customers. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.68.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hancock Holding Company as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins and reasonable valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. You can view the full Hancock Holding Company Ratings Report now.

Arthur J Gallagher

Owners of Arthur J Gallagher (NYSE: AJG) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 36 cents per share. At a price of $47.67 as of 9:46 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 3%.

The average volume for Arthur J Gallagher has been 636,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Arthur J Gallagher has a market cap of $7.5 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are up 0.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and its subsidiaries provide insurance brokerage and risk management services to various commercial, industrial, institutional, and governmental organizations. It operates in two segments, Brokerage and Risk Management. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.38.

TheStreet Ratings rates Arthur J Gallagher as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, compelling growth in net income and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. You can view the full Arthur J Gallagher Ratings Report now.

Gannett

Owners of Gannett (NYSE: GCI) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 20 cents per share. At a price of $34.07 as of 9:46 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 2.4%.

The average volume for Gannett has been 2.2 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Gannett has a market cap of $7.6 billion and is part of the media industry. Shares are up 14.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Gannett Co., Inc. operates as a media and marketing solutions company in the United States and internationally. It operates through three segments: Broadcasting, Publishing, and Digital. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.96.

TheStreet Ratings rates Gannett as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth, solid stock price performance, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results. You can view the full Gannett 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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