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Stryker (NYSE:SYK) Could Be A Buy For Its Upcoming Dividend

Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Stryker Corporation (NYSE:SYK) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. 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 of consequence because whenever a stock is bought or sold, the trade takes at least two business day to settle. Therefore, if you purchase Stryker's shares on or after the 30th of March, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 28th of April.

The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.75 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$3.00 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Stryker stock has a trailing yield of around 1.1% on the current share price of $276.69. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

See our latest analysis for Stryker

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. That's why it's good to see Stryker paying out a modest 45% of its earnings. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. Over the last year it paid out 52% of its free cash flow as dividends, within the usual range for most companies.

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It's positive to see that Stryker's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

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?

Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. 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, Stryker's earnings per share have been growing at 18% a year for the past five years. Stryker is paying out a bit over half its earnings, which suggests the company is striking a balance between reinvesting in growth, and paying dividends. This is a reasonable combination that could hint at some 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. Stryker has delivered 13% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.

The Bottom Line

Is Stryker worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have grown at a nice rate in recent times and over the last year, Stryker paid out less than half 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 3 warning signs with Stryker and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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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