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Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) Looks Like A Good Stock, And It's Going Ex-Dividend Soon

It looks like Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) is about to go ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the 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. In other words, investors can purchase Valero Energy's shares before the 13th of February in order to be eligible for the dividend, which will be paid on the 16th of March.

The company's upcoming dividend is US$1.02 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$3.92 per share to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Valero Energy has a trailing yield of approximately 2.9% on its current stock price of $134.52. 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.

See our latest analysis for Valero Energy

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. Valero Energy has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 13% of its income after tax.

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

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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. It's encouraging to see Valero Energy has grown its earnings rapidly, up 27% a year for the past five years. Valero Energy looks like a real growth company, with earnings per share growing at a cracking pace and the company reinvesting most of its profits in the business.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, Valero Energy has lifted its dividend by approximately 21% a year on average. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.

Final Takeaway

Should investors buy Valero Energy for the upcoming 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 is one of the most attractive investment combinations under this analysis, as it can create substantial value for investors over the long run. Valero Energy ticks a lot of boxes for us from a dividend perspective, and we think these characteristics should mark the company as deserving of further attention.

With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. To help with this, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Valero Energy 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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