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Below are the approximate ex-dividend dates for the month of January 2011 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 can be found 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.

Symbol Name Price % from Low Yield Div/Shr EPS Ex-Div
SSS Sovran Self Storage, Inc. $37.22 19.60% 4.90% $1.80 $1.11 1/4/2011
JPM JP Morgan Chase $42.21 20.05% 0.50% $0.20 $3.59 1/4/2011
SYY Sysco Corporation $29.35 8.74% 3.60% $1.04 $1.94 1/5/2011
AXP American Express $42.64 16.50% 1.70% $0.72 $3.07 1/5/2011
GBCI Glacier Bancorp, Inc. $15.39 19.88% 3.30% $0.52 $0.64 1/5/2011

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.

Source: Top 5 January Ex-Dividend Dates to Watch