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A company's ex-dividend date is the date by which an investor must own the stock to receive the next dividend. If you're interested in dividend income, here are some stocks nearing their ex-dividend date.

We ran a screen on stocks within five trading days of their next ex-dividend date for those with high profitability, beating their industry peers on gross, operating and pretax margins.

It's important to keep in mind however that stocks paying large dividends usually see their stock price rise by the dividend amount nearing the ex-dividend date, and then fall by the dividend amount as the ex-dividend date passes.

‪Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.‬

We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.

Do you think these stocks pay attractive dividends? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

List sorted by dividend yield.

1. Wisconsin Energy Corp. (NYSE:WEC): Engages in the generation, distribution and sale of electric energy and steam. Dividend yield at 3.46%, payout ratio at 47.15%. Ex-dividend date on 02/08/12, which is one trading day away. TTM gross margin at 27.14% vs. industry average at 26.32%. TTM operating margin at 19.78% vs. industry average at 16.99%. TTM pretax margin at 17.31% vs. industry average at 12.58%.

2. Autoliv, Inc. (NYSE:ALV): Develops, manufactures and supplies automotive safety systems to the automotive industry. Dividend yield at 2.72%, payout ratio at 24.78%. Ex-dividend date on 02/13/12, which is four trading days away. TTM gross margin at 24.02% vs. industry average at 19.61%. TTM operating margin at 10.92% vs. industry average at 7.5%. TTM pretax margin at 10.06% vs. industry average at 7.01%.

3. East West Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:EWBC): Operates as the holding company for East West Bank, which provides a range of personal and commercial banking services to small and medium-sized businesses, business executives, professionals and other individuals in California. Dividend yield at 1.78%, payout ratio at 19.38%. Ex-dividend date on 02/08/12, which is one trading day away. TTM gross margin at 74.99% vs. industry average at 71.33%. TTM operating margin at 51.2% vs. industry average at 40.69%. TTM pretax margin at 35.2% vs. industry average at 22.13%.

4. Twin Disc Inc. (NASDAQ:TWIN): Designs, manufactures and sells marine and heavy duty off-highway power transmission equipment. Dividend yield at 1.11%, payout ratio at 13.22%. Ex-dividend date on 02/08/12, which is one trading day away. TTM gross margin at 39.88% vs. industry average at 32.91%. TTM operating margin at 14.47% vs. industry average at 13.26%. TTM pretax margin at 13.99% vs. industry average at 11.14%.

*Ex-dividend dates sourced from Yahoo! Finance, profitability data sourced from Fidelity, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 4 Highly Profitable Stocks Near Ex-Dividend Dates