Thursday's Ex-Dividends To Watch: NPF, NKX, JPC

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.

Thursday, Thursday, December 11, 2014, 133 U.S. common stocks are scheduled to go ex-dividend. The dividend yields on these stocks range from 0.3% to 70.1%. All of these stocks can be found on our stocks going ex-dividend section of our dividend calendar.

Highlighted Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Thursday:

Nuveen Premier Municipal Income Fund

Owners of Nuveen Premier Municipal Income Fund (NYSE: NPF) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 7 cents per share. At a price of $13.88 as of 4:02 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 6.2%.

The average volume for Nuveen Premier Municipal Income Fund has been 33,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Nuveen Premier Municipal Income Fund has a market cap of $275.7 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 12.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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The company has a P/E ratio of 14.74.

Nuveen California AMT-Free Municipal Income

Owners of Nuveen California AMT-Free Municipal Income (NYSE: NKX) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 7 cents per share. At a price of $14.36 as of 3:59 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 6%.

The average volume for Nuveen California AMT-Free Municipal Income has been 72,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Nuveen California AMT-Free Municipal Income has a market cap of $684.1 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 17.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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The company has a P/E ratio of 15.09.

Nuveen Preferred Income Opportunities Fund

Owners of Nuveen Preferred Income Opportunities Fund (NYSE: JPC) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 6 cents per share. At a price of $9.44 as of 4:02 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 8.1%.

The average volume for Nuveen Preferred Income Opportunities Fund has been 262,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Nuveen Preferred Income Opportunities Fund has a market cap of $906.9 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 5.9% 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 8.28.

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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