Should you buy these top dividend shares before they go ex-dividend?

Later this week a number of popular and high-yielding dividend shares will go ex-dividend for their respective interim dividends.

Should you snap them up before it is too late?

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP)

This mining giant’s shares go ex-dividend on Thursday for its 55 U.S. cents (71 Australian cents) per share interim dividend. Eligible shareholders will then receive this dividend in their nominated accounts on March 28. At the current price BHP Billiton’s shares provide a trailing fully franked 4.2% yield. I think this makes it a great option for investors, especially given the positive global economic outlook and the strong demand for commodities that this is likely to lead to.

G8 Education Ltd (ASX: GEM)

This childcare centre operator’s shares are due to go ex-dividend on Thursday for its 10 cents per share interim dividend. This will then be paid to eligible shareholders on March 23. Unlike previous years, G8 Education no longer intends to pay quarterly dividends. Instead, it will pay an interim and final dividend. I expect its final dividend will also be 10 cents per share, which means that its shares offer investors an estimated fully franked 7.2% yield today. While this could make it worth considering the company as an investment, I’m waiting for its occupancy levels to improve first.

Medibank Private Ltd (ASX: MPL)

The private health insurance underwriter and distributor’s shares are due to go ex-dividend on Tuesday for its 5.5 cents per share interim dividend. Like BHP, this is then due to be paid to eligible shareholders on March 28. While I think Medibank’s trailing fully franked 3.9% yield is attractive, I’m not overly convinced that the health insurance sector is over the worst of its issues just yet. In light of this, I would sooner look at other areas of the healthcare sector ahead of Medibank.

Finally, this top dividend share goes ex-dividend in the near future and would be a great investment in my opinion.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended G8 Education Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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