Dividend Watch: 3 Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Thursday: RIV, GLAD, HTLD

Thursday, Thursday, March 17, 2016, 26 U.S. common stocks are scheduled to go ex-dividend. The dividend yields on these stocks range from 0.1% to 14.7%. All of these stocks can be found on our stocks going ex-dividend section of our dividend calendar.

Highlighted Stocks Going Ex-Dividend Thursday:

RiverNorth Opportunities Fund

Owners of RiverNorth Opportunities Fund (NYSE: RIV) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 14 cents per share. At a price of $18.22 as of 4:00 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 9.3%.

The average volume for RiverNorth Opportunities Fund has been 21,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Shares are down 8.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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Gladstone Capital

Owners of Gladstone Capital (NASDAQ: GLAD) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 7 cents per share. At a price of $7.56 as of 3:59 p.m. ET, the dividend yield is 11.5%.

The average volume for Gladstone Capital has been 208,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Gladstone Capital has a market cap of $171.8 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 2.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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Gladstone Capital Corporation is a business development company specializing in investments in debt and equity securities. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.83.

TheStreet Ratings rates Gladstone Capital as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share. You can view the full Gladstone Capital Ratings Report now.

Heartland Express

Owners of Heartland Express (NASDAQ: HTLD) shares, as of market close today, will be eligible for a dividend of 2 cents per share. At a price of $18.43 as of 9:35 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 0.4%.

The average volume for Heartland Express has been 745,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Heartland Express has a market cap of $1.6 billion and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are up 8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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Heartland Express, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as a short-to-medium haul truckload carrier of general commodities. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.04.

TheStreet Ratings rates Heartland Express as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. You can view the full Heartland Express 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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