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Should Income Investors Look At Community Bank System, Inc. (NYSE:CBU) Before Its Ex-Dividend?

It looks like Community Bank System, Inc. (NYSE:CBU) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company's record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled to receive a dividend. 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. This means that investors who purchase Community Bank System's shares on or after the 14th of March will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 10th of April.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.44 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$1.76 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Community Bank System has a trailing yield of 3.1% on the current share price of $56.84. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Community Bank System's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

Check out our latest analysis for Community Bank System

Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Community Bank System is paying out an acceptable 50% of its profit, a common payout level among most companies.

Generally speaking, the lower a company's payout ratios, the more resilient its dividend usually is.

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 consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at Community Bank System, with earnings per share up 2.6% on average over the last five years.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, Community Bank System has lifted its dividend by approximately 5.4% a year on average. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.

Final Takeaway

Is Community Bank System worth buying for its dividend? Community Bank System has been generating some growth in earnings per share while paying out more than half of its earnings to shareholders in the form of dividends. We're unconvinced on the company's merits, and think there might be better opportunities out there.

Ever wonder what the future holds for Community Bank System? See what the seven analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

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.

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