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X Factor: 5 Stocks Reaching Their Ex-Dividend Date on March 13

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ARMOUR Residential REIT, Altria Group, and Merck are on the list.

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Many stocks will reach their ex-dividend date next Wedensday, 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 March 13 as their ex-dividend date. All annual yields are estimated.

ARMOUR Residential REIT (NYSE:ARR) yields 14.33% annually and has a market cap of $2.07 billion. The real estate investment trust, or REIT, will pay a monthly dividend of $0.08 on March 27, and its monthly yield will be 1.19% based on yesterday's closing price of $6.70. The company began paying a monthly dividend in 2010.

Altria Group (NYSE:MO) yields 5.14% annually and has a market cap of $68.59 billion. The global manufacturer and seller of cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.44 on April 10, and its quarterly yield will be 1.29% based on yesterday's closing price of $34.24. The company has paid a quarterly dividend since 1989.

Merck (NYSE:MRK) yields 3.97% annually and has a market cap of $131.64 billion. The global health solutions company will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.43 on April 5, and the quarterly yield will be 0.99% based on yesterday's closing price of $43.25. The company has paid a quarterly dividend since 1970, and each dividend payment has either increased or remained the same from the prior quarter.

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) yields 2.90% annually and has a market cap of $172.39 billion. The beverage company will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.28 on April 1, and its quarterly yield will be 0.72% based on yesterday's closing price of $38.68. The company has paid a quarterly dividend since 1920.

Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) yields 0.49% annually and has a market cap of $11.54 billion. The holding company for Regions Bank will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.01 on April 1. Its quarterly yield will be 0.13% based on yesterday's closing price of $7.92. The company has paid a quarterly dividend since 1990.

These companies also have their ex-dividend date on March 12. All annual yields are estimated.

Leggett & Platt (NYSE:LEG) yields 3.68% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.29 on April 15.

Cenovus Energy (NYSE:CVE) yields 3.10% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.242 on March 28.

Huntsman Corporation (NYSE:HUN) yields 2.66% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.125 on March 29.

Macy's (NYSE:M) yields 1.93% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.20 on April 1.

Eastman Chemical (NYSE:EMN) yields 1.68% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.30 on April 1.

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

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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