Shares of Home Depot (HD) , the world's largest retailer of home improvement products, are scheduled to trade ex-dividend Tuesday, March 8. To qualify for a dividend check, investors must own Home Depot stock before its ex-dividend date, when management finalizes its roster of shareholders to whom it will send dividend payments.With Atlanta-based Home Depot, investors can be rewarded if they exercise some patience. Home Depot stock currently trades around $125, but it has a consensus buy rating and its average analyst 12-month price target is $145.
The reason for that analyst confidence? In Home Depot's fourth-quarter results released last month, the company reported a net income of $1.47 billion, or $1.17 per share, beating Wall Street estimates by 7 cents. This marked a 6.5% increase year over year, while revenue -- which also beat Street forecasts -- increased almost 10%.
Even amid adverse weather and pressure from the strong dollar, the company's improved merchandising continues to drive same-store sales. Those sales climbed 9% during the quarter. Improving employment and moderate wage growth are also helping consumers feel more confidence to spend on home-improving projects in the quarters ahead.
The dividend is an added bonus.
Home Depot's annual 69-cent a share dividend yields 2.2% annually. The shares also are 6.7% cheaper in the past three months.
Now's an ideal time to buy.