Dividend Watch: 3 Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Thursday: JDD, NPP, WOR

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 Diversified Dividend and Income Fund

Owners of Nuveen Diversified Dividend and Income Fund (NYSE: JDD) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 26 cents per share. At a price of $12.29 as of 3:58 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 8.4%.

The average volume for Nuveen Diversified Dividend and Income Fund has been 61,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Nuveen Diversified Dividend and Income Fund has a market cap of $246.4 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 9.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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The company has a P/E ratio of 12.48.

Nuveen Performance Plus Municipal Fund

Owners of Nuveen Performance Plus Municipal Fund (NYSE: NPP) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 8 cents per share. At a price of $14.80 as of 4:02 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 6.2%.

The average volume for Nuveen Performance Plus Municipal Fund has been 103,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Nuveen Performance Plus Municipal Fund has a market cap of $887.2 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 9.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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The company has a P/E ratio of 14.49.

Worthington Industries

Owners of Worthington Industries (NYSE: WOR) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 18 cents per share. At a price of $38.36 as of 4:04 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 1.9%.

The average volume for Worthington Industries has been 317,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Worthington Industries has a market cap of $2.6 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 11.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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Worthington Industries, Inc., a metals manufacturing company, focuses on value-added steel processing and manufactured metal products in the United States, Europe, Mexico, Canada, and internationally. It operates through three segments: Steel Processing, Pressure Cylinders, and Engineered Cabs. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.02.

TheStreet Ratings rates Worthington Industries as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. You can view the full Worthington Industries 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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