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Below are the approximate ex-dividend dates for the month of December for companies that appear on our Dividend Achiever, Nasdaq 100, Dow Jones Transportation Index and International Dividend Achiever Watch Lists. All companies are ranked by ex-dividend dates. The complete list of 51 companies is located here.

Companies that show up on our Watch Lists could be considered the equivalent of the bargain bin of high-quality blue-chip stocks. Because these companies have increased their dividends every year for at least 10 years in a row, or are part of the Nasdaq 100 and within 20% of their respective 52-week low, you know that you’re not overpaying for a company that has demonstrated profitability and the ability to rebound from challenging times.
SymbolNamePriceEPSDiv/ShrYieldPct from Yr LowEx-Div
CHFCChemical Financial Corp$20.930.710.83.80%11.39%12/01/10
IMOImperial Oil Limited$
PEPPepsico, Inc.$63.923.971.923.00%8.80%12/01/10
ANATAmerican National Insurance$79.715.373.083.90%7.51%12/01/10
CBSHCommerce Bancshares, Inc.$37.482.50.942.50%6.78%12/06/10
CHLChina Mobile Limited$49.694.341.643.30%11.89%12/06/10
FNFFidelity National Financial$13.631.340.725.30%8.17%12/07/10
UMBFUMB Financial Corp$37.442.370.782.10%17.85%12/08/10
NTRSNorthern Trust Corp$50.202.921.122.20%10.81%12/08/10
WMTWal-Mart Stores, Inc.$53.674.031.212.30%12.35%12/08/10

If you happen to be researching these companies for potential investment, it would be advisable to consider the ex-dividend date prior to possible purchases. Owning the shares of the company that you're interested in before the ex-dividend date entitles you to the upcoming dividend payment. Owning the shares on or after the ex-dividend date means that you would have to wait at least three months before receipt of the next dividend payment.

Please verify the ex-dividend date and payout ratio before committing funds to these stocks. Additionally, do not base your next long- or short-term purchase on the dividend payment or yield. Instead, get as much research in as you possibly can before the ex-dividend date "just in case" you're actually interested in buying the stock. Payout ratios that exceed 100% should be considered speculative investments.

Disclosure: Long NTRS.

Source: December Ex-Dividend Dates of Quality Dividend Stocks