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X Factor: 5 Stocks Reaching Their Ex-Dividend Date on December 18

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Ship Finance International, American Water Works Company, and Las Vegas Sands Corporation are on the list.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Many stocks will reach their ex-dividend date next Tuesday which is significant for investors as the seller of the stock on that date, not the buyer, receives the most recent dividend.

A stock must be bought one day before the ex-dividend date to claim any dividends that have been announced but not yet paid. The company determines on the record date, which usually occurs two days after the ex-dividend date, which shareholders qualify for the dividend. Shareholders listed as holders of record after the record date then receive their dividend on the date of payment established by the company. Those purchasing right before the record date forfeit the dividend and normally get the stock for a reduced amount.

It may seem an anachronism in this era of high frequency trading, but the dividend rate rules are in force since it can still take up to three business days for transactions to be credited to and settled in an investor's account.

Below are five stocks that schedule December 18 as their ex-dividend date. All annual yields are estimated.

Ship Finance International (NYSE:SFL) yields 9.32% annually and has a market cap of $1.32 billion. Ship Finance International Limited, through its subsidiaries, engages in the ownership and operation of vessels and offshore related assets in Bermuda, Cyprus, Malta, Liberia, Norway, the United States, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the Marshall Islands. It will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.39 on December 28, and it will pay an accelerated its fourth quarter dividend of $0.39 on December 28 as well. The combined quarterly yield of both dividends will be 4.66% based on yesterday's closing price of $16.73. Ship Finance accelerated its fourth quarter dividend to avoid potential tax increases on dividends for some of its shareholders. The company has paid a quarterly dividend since the second half of 2004, and the dividend is down from a high of $0.60 in 2008.

American Water Works Company (NYSE:AWK) yields 2.64% annually and has a market cap $6.75 billion. American Water Works Company, through its subsidiaries, provides water and wastewater services to residential, commercial, industrial, public, and other customers in the United States and Canada. It will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.25 on December 28, and its quarterly yield will be 0.66% based on yesterday's closing price of $37.92. The company has paid a quarterly since the second half of 2008, and each dividend payment has either increased or remained the same.

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) yields 2.25% annually and has market cap of $36.59 billion. Las Vegas Sands, together with its subsidiaries, owns, develops, and operates various integrated resort properties primarily in the United States, Macau, and Singapore. It will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.25 on December 28, and its quarterly yield will be 0.56% based on yesterday's closing price of $44.54. The company began paying a quarterly dividend this year.

Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) yields 2.21% annually and has a market cap of $7.29 billion. Tiffany & Co., through its subsidiaries, engages in the design, manufacture, and retail of fine jewelry worldwide. It will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.32 on January 10, and its quarterly yield will be 0.55% based on yesterday's closing price of $57.85. The jewelry retailer has paid a quarterly dividend since the second half of 1988, and each quarterly dividend payment has either increased or remained the same from the prior quarter.

Arcos Dorados Holdings (NYSE:ARCO) yields 1.89% annually and has a market cap of $2.6 billion. The company operates and franchises McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) restaurants. It will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.0597 on December 26, and its quarterly yield will be 0.47% based on yesterday's closing price of $12.64. The company began paying a quarterly dividend last year.

These companies also have their ex-dividend date on December 18. All annual yields are estimated.

Horizon Technology Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:HRZN) yields 11.16% and will pay a monthly dividend of $0.115 on January 15.

BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation (NASDAQ:BKCC) yields 10.48% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.26 on January 3.

Main Street Capital Corporation (NYSE:MAIN) yields 6.22% annually and will pay a monthly dividend of $0.15 on January 15.

Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust (NYSE:RPT) yields 4.94% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.1682 on January 2.

Atlantic Tele-Network (NASDAQ:ATNI) yields 2.77% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.25 on December 31.

Purchase -- and have your broker settle -- before the ex-dividend date to secure the dividend.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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