Readers hoping to buy Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. The ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date, which is the cut-off date for shareholders to be present on the company's books to be eligible for a dividend payment. The ex-dividend date is of consequence because whenever a stock is bought or sold, the trade takes at least two business day to settle. In other words, investors can purchase Cummins' shares before the 18th of August in order to be eligible for the dividend, which will be paid on the 1st of September.
The company's upcoming dividend is US$1.57 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$6.28 per share to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Cummins has a trailing yield of approximately 2.8% on its current stock price of $227.76. 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! We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. Cummins paid out a comfortable 40% of its profit last year. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Cummins generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. It paid out more than half (67%) of its free cash flow in the past year, which is within an average range for most companies.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Fortunately for readers, Cummins's earnings per share have been growing at 12% a year for the past five years. Cummins has an average payout ratio which suggests a balance between growing earnings and rewarding shareholders. Given the quick rate of earnings per share growth and current level of payout, there may be a chance of further dividend increases in the future.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 10 years, Cummins has lifted its dividend by approximately 15% a year on average. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.
To Sum It Up
Should investors buy Cummins for the upcoming dividend? From a dividend perspective, we're encouraged to see that earnings per share have been growing, the company is paying out less than half of its earnings, and a bit over half its free cash flow. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.
With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 1 warning sign with Cummins and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
A common investing mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a full list of high-yield dividend stocks.
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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.
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