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American Express Company (NYSE:AXP)'s Could Be A Buy For Its Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) is about to go ex-dividend in just 4 days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 3rd of October will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 8th of November.

American Express's next dividend payment will be US$0.4 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.6 per share. Last year's total dividend payments show that American Express has a trailing yield of 1.5% on the current share price of $118.59. 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! So we need to investigate whether American Express can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

View our latest analysis for American Express

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. American Express has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 19% of its income after tax.

Companies that pay out less in dividends than they earn in profits generally have more sustainable dividends. The lower the payout ratio, the more wiggle room the business has before it could be forced to cut the dividend.

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

NYSE:AXP Historical Dividend Yield, September 28th 2019

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. 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, American Express's earnings per share have been growing at 11% a year for the past five years.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Since the start of our data, ten years ago, American Express has lifted its dividend by approximately 9.1% a year on average. It's encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.

Final Takeaway

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid American Express? 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, American Express looks like a promising dividend stock in this analysis, and we think it would be worth investigating further.

Curious what other investors think of American Express? See what analysts are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow.

We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.