Kimberly Clark Corp (KMB), Leggett & Platt, Inc. (LEG): 4 Dividend Champions Going Ex-Dividend in June

Dividend companies continue to be popular, both among people investing for income and among people looking for superior returns with the added bonus of a steady income stream. Investors are finally recognizing that over time, dividend-payers have historically outperformed other classes, and that much of the stock market’s overall performance can actually be attributed to the contribution of dividends.

Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB)

Important dates for dividend stocks

If you’re going to buy a dividend company, you want to be aware of three important dates.

The first is called the ex-dividend date; on this date, the stock will trade “ex-dividend”, or without its dividend. In order to receive the dividend, you need to own the stock on the day before the ex-dividend date.

The second date is the record date, which is two business days after the ex-dividend date; purchasers must be “on record” by this date in order to receive the dividend (this is three business days, or the time it takes a stock trade to settle, after the last date that a purchaser can buy the stock and still receive the dividend).

The third date is the payment date; this is generally several weeks after the ex-dividend and record dates, and is the date on which the actual dividend is distributed.

If you own stock on the day prior to the ex-dividend date, and then sell it on or after the ex-dividend date, you will still receive the dividend on the payment date, even if you have sold the stock.

And, if you buy the stock on the ex-dividend date or after, you will not receive the dividend even if you are still holding the stock on the payment date.

June ex-dividend dates

This week, I examined over 300 stocks that are going ex-dividend in June, and have chosen four to highlight. The companies on today’s list are not necessarily ones that would be in my portfolio, but they are all terrific companies that merit a second look for any dividend investor.

All four have been paying and raising dividends for more than thirty years, all are yielding more than 3%, and they have all returned over 15% for the past twelve months.

I examined each company’s yield, total 52-week return, where it is trading relative to its 52-week high and low, and its recent dividend-paying history in order to project its ability to continue.

I present these four companies, in order of ex-dividend date:

Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB) is the consumer goods giant, manufacturing and selling personal and household care items across the globe.

Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB) is currently trading at $101 per share and yields 3.10%. It has been raising dividends for 38 years with a five-year Dividend Growth Rate (DGR) of 6.9%. It is trading at 5% less than its 52-week high of $106.54, which was reached earlier this month. (I include this information because some investors prefer to buy a stock on a pull-back from its high.) The price is up 31% since last year.

Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB) announced its 1Q13 earnings on April 19, and beat analyst estimates by 10%, which topped 1Q2012 earnings by 19%. 2Q earnings are expected to be an increase of 9% over 2Q12 earnings. The forward-looking annual dividend is $3.24, or 57% of the earnings estimate, which is a reasonably safe payout ratio.

Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB) will go ex-dividend on June 5 and will pay a dividend of $0.81 per share on July 2.

Leggett & Platt, Inc. (NYSE:LEG) manufactures residential home furnishings components, and is actually one of the companies in my Perfect Dividend Portfolio. I analyzed and selected it in March, and you can read here why I did so.

Leggett & Platt, Inc. (NYSE:LEG) has been paying and raising distributions consistently for 41 years. It yields 3.50% and its five-year dividend growth rate is 6.1%. Leggett & Platt, Inc. (NYSE:LEG) is trading at $33 per share, up 59% from a year ago, and just off its 52-week high.

The stock goes ex-dividend on June 12 and will pay a dividend of $0.29 per share on July 15.