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Is It Smart To Buy Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (NYSE:LH) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend?

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (NYSE:LH) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days. 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. 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 Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings' shares before the 22nd of February in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 13th of March.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.72 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$2.88 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings stock has a trailing yield of around 1.1% on the current share price of $256.09. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

View our latest analysis for Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings

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. Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings is paying out just 7.6% of its profit after tax, which is comfortably low and leaves plenty of breathing room in the case of adverse events.

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?

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 fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. For this reason, we're glad to see Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings's earnings per share have risen 11% per annum over the last five years. Earnings per share are growing rapidly and the company is keeping more than half of its earnings within the business; an attractive combination which could suggest the company is focused on reinvesting to grow earnings further. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.

Given that Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings has only been paying a dividend for a year, there's not much of a past history to draw insight from.

Final Takeaway

Is Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings worth buying for its dividend? When companies are growing rapidly and retaining a majority of the profits within the business, it's usually a sign that reinvesting earnings creates more value than paying dividends to shareholders. This strategy can add significant value to shareholders over the long term - as long as it's done without issuing too many new shares. Overall, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings looks like a promising dividend stock in this analysis, and we think it would be worth investigating further.

On that note, you'll want to research what risks Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings is facing. To help with this, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings that you should be aware of before investing in their shares.

If you're in the market for strong dividend payers, we recommend checking our selection of top 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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