Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TRV) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four 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 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. Therefore, if you purchase Travelers Companies' shares on or after the 9th of March, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 31st of March.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.93 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$3.72 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Travelers Companies has a trailing yield of 2.0% on the current share price of $183.59. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. That's why it's good to see Travelers Companies paying out a modest 31% of its earnings.
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.
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. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. For this reason, we're glad to see Travelers Companies's earnings per share have risen 10% per annum over the last five years.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Travelers Companies has delivered an average of 7.3% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. 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.
To Sum It Up
Is Travelers Companies worth buying for its dividend? Typically, companies that are growing rapidly and paying out a low fraction of earnings are keeping the profits for reinvestment in the business. 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, Travelers Companies looks like a promising dividend stock in this analysis, and we think it would be worth investigating further.
In light of that, while Travelers Companies has an appealing dividend, it's worth knowing the risks involved with this stock. To help with this, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Travelers Companies that you should be aware of before investing in their shares.
Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.
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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