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APA Corporation (NASDAQ:APA) Looks Like A Good Stock, And It's Going Ex-Dividend Soon

APA Corporation (NASDAQ:APA) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible to receive a dividend. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Thus, you can purchase APA's shares before the 19th of April in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 22nd of May.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.25 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$1.00 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, APA has a trailing yield of 3.0% on the current stock price of US$33.72. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

Check out our latest analysis for APA

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. APA has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 11% of its income after tax. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 39% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.

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It's positive to see that APA's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

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historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. It's encouraging to see APA has grown its earnings rapidly, up 136% a year for the past five years. APA is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow, while simultaneously growing earnings per share at a rapid clip. Companies with growing earnings and low payout ratios are often the best long-term dividend stocks, as the company can both grow its earnings and increase the percentage of earnings that it pays out, essentially multiplying the dividend.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. APA has delivered 2.3% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. Earnings per share have been growing much quicker than dividends, potentially because APA is keeping back more of its profits to grow the business.

To Sum It Up

Should investors buy APA for the upcoming dividend? We love that APA is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. These characteristics suggest the company is reinvesting in growing its business, while the conservative payout ratio also implies a reduced risk of the dividend being cut in the future. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.

So while APA looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. Our analysis shows 4 warning signs for APA that we strongly recommend you have a look at before investing in the company.

A common investing mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a full list of high-yield dividend stocks.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.