Tomorrow, Wednesday, December 23, 2015, 20 U.S. common stocks are scheduled to go ex-dividend. The dividend yields on these stocks range from 1.5% to 20.4%. All of these stocks can be found on our stocks going ex-dividend section of our dividend calendar.

Highlighted Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Tomorrow:

Orion Engineered Carbons

Owners of Orion Engineered Carbons (NYSE: OEC) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 19 cents per share. At a price of $11.59 as of 9:36 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 6.9%.

The average volume for Orion Engineered Carbons has been 96,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Orion Engineered Carbons has a market cap of $644.1 million and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 32.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. manufactures and sells carbon black products in Germany and the rest of Europe, the United States, South Korea, Brazil, South Africa, and internationally. It operates through two segments, Specialty Carbon Black and Rubber Carbon Black.

TheStreet Ratings rates Orion Engineered Carbons as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, weak operating cash flow, generally high debt management risk and poor profit margins. You can view the full Orion Engineered Carbons Ratings Report now.

New York Mortgage

Owners of New York Mortgage (NASDAQ: NYMT) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 24 cents per share. At a price of $5.81 as of 9:36 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 16.9%.

The average volume for New York Mortgage has been 1.1 million shares per day over the past 30 days. New York Mortgage has a market cap of $620.3 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 24.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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New York Mortgage Trust, Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT), engages in acquiring, investing in, financing, and managing mortgage-related and financial assets in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.50.

TheStreet Ratings rates New York Mortgage as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins. You can view the full New York Mortgage Ratings Report now.

MFA Financial

Owners of MFA Financial (NYSE: MFA) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 20 cents per share. At a price of $6.89 as of 9:37 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 11.7%.

The average volume for MFA Financial has been 2.2 million shares per day over the past 30 days. MFA Financial has a market cap of $2.5 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 14.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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MFA Financial, Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT), invests in residential agency and non-agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS), and residential whole loans in the United States (the U.S.). The company has a P/E ratio of 8.33.

TheStreet Ratings rates MFA Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself. You can view the full MFA Financial 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.