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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Passed Our Checks, And It's About To Pay A 0.4% Dividend

Simply Wall St

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 3 days time. You can purchase shares before the 9th of August in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 15th of August.

Apple's next dividend payment will be US$0.77 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$3.08 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Apple has a trailing yield of 1.5% on the current stock price of $204.02. 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.

See our latest analysis for Apple

Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. Apple paid out just 25% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Apple generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. The good news is it paid out just 24% of its free cash flow in the last year.

It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.

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

NasdaqGS:AAPL Historical Dividend Yield, August 5th 2019
NasdaqGS:AAPL Historical Dividend Yield, August 5th 2019

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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. For this reason, we're glad to see Apple's earnings per share have risen 16% per annum over the last five years. The company has managed to grow earnings at a rapid rate, while reinvesting most of the profits within the business. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.

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, 7 years ago, Apple has lifted its dividend by approximately 11% a year on average. 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

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Apple? Apple has been growing earnings at a rapid rate, and has a conservatively low payout ratio, implying that it is reinvesting heavily in its business; a sterling combination. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.

Wondering what the future holds for Apple? See what the 40 analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising 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.