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X Factor: 5 Stocks Reaching Their Ex-Dividend Date on April 8

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General Mills, Marsh & McLennan Companies, and Verizon make the list.

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Many stocks will reach their ex-dividend date next Monday, 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 April 8 as their ex-dividend date. All annual yields are estimated.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ) yields 4.19% annually and has a market cap of $140.48 billion. The provider of communications and entertainment products will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.515 on May 1, and the quarterly yield will be 1.05% based on Thursday's closing price of $49.15. The company has paid a quarterly dividend since 1984, and each dividend payment has either increased or remained the same from the prior quarter.

General Mills (NYSE:GIS) yields 3.08% annually and has a market cap of $31.79 billion. The global producer of food products will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.33 on May 1. Its quarterly yield will be 0.67% based on Thursday's closing price of $49.31. The company has paid a quarterly dividend since the second half of 1983.

Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE:MMC) yields 2.42% annually and has a market cap of $20.82 billion. The professional services company will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.23 on May 15, and its quarterly yield will be 0.61% based on Thursday's closing price of $37.97. The company has paid a quarterly dividend since 1988.

Gap (NYSE:GPS) yields 1.69% annually and has a market cap of $16.47 billion. The apparel retail company will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.15 on May 1, and its quarterly yield will be 0.42% based on yesterday's closing price of $35.40. The company has paid a quarterly dividend since the second half of 1987, and each dividend payment has either increased or remained the same from the prior quarter.

American Tower Corporation (NYSE:AMT) yields 1.35% annually and has a market cap of $30.39 billion. The real estate investment trust, or REIT, will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.26 on April 25, and its quarterly yield will be 0.34% based on Thursday's closing price of $76.92. The company began paying a quarterly dividend since last year.

These companies also have their ex-dividend date on April 8. All annual yields are estimated.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) yields 3.88% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.50 on May 1.

Waddell & Reed Financial (NYSE:WDR) yields 2.55% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.28 on May 1.

OGE Energy Corporation (NYSE:OGE) yields 2.39% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.4175 on April 30.

InterDigital (NASDAQ:IDCC) yields 0.84% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.10 on April 24.

FEI Company (NASDAQ:FEIC) yields 0.49% annually and will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.08 on April 23.

Purchase -- and have your broker settle -- before the ex-dividend date to secure the dividend.
Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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The author has a position in General Mills.
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