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Don't Buy Investar Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:ISTR) For Its Next Dividend Without Doing These Checks

·3-min read

Readers hoping to buy Investar Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:ISTR) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase Investar Holding's shares before the 30th of December to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 31st of January.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.08 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.32 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Investar Holding has a trailing yield of 1.8% on the current share price of $17.75. 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 Investar Holding

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Investar Holding paid out 55% of its earnings to investors last year, a normal payout level for most businesses.

When a company paid out less in dividends than it earned in profit, this generally suggests its dividend is affordable. The lower the % of its profit that it pays out, the greater the margin of safety for the dividend if the business enters a downturn.

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

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Investar Holding's earnings per share have fallen at approximately 11% a year over the previous five years. Ultimately, when earnings per share decline, the size of the pie from which dividends can be paid, shrinks.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Investar Holding has delivered an average of 42% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past seven years of dividend payments. Growing the dividend payout ratio while earnings are declining can deliver nice returns for a while, but it's always worth checking for when the company can't increase the payout ratio any more - because then the music stops.

To Sum It Up

Is Investar Holding worth buying for its dividend? We're not overly enthused to see Investar Holding's earnings in retreat at the same time as the company is paying out more than half of its earnings as dividends to shareholders. These characteristics don't generally lead to outstanding dividend performance, and investors may not be happy with the results of owning this stock for its dividend.

So if you're still interested in Investar Holding despite it's poor dividend qualities, you should be well informed on some of the risks facing this stock. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 3 warning signs with Investar Holding and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

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.

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