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Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADP) Stock Goes Ex-Dividend In Just Four Days

Simply Wall St

Readers hoping to buy Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADP) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. This means that investors who purchase shares on or after the 10th of September will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 1st of October.

Automatic Data Processing's next dividend payment will be US$0.91 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$3.64 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Automatic Data Processing has a trailing yield of 2.6% on the current share price of $138.53. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Automatic Data Processing's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

See our latest analysis for Automatic Data Processing

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. Automatic Data Processing paid out more than half (61%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. Over the last year it paid out 61% of its free cash flow as dividends, within the usual range for most companies.

It's positive to see that Automatic Data Processing'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.

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

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, Automatic Data Processing's earnings per share have been growing at 14% a year for the past five years. Automatic Data Processing 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. Automatic Data Processing has delivered an average of 10% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. 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 Automatic Data Processing worth buying for its dividend? Higher earnings per share generally lead to higher dividends from dividend-paying stocks over the long run. However, we'd also note that Automatic Data Processing is paying out more than half of its earnings and cash flow as profits, which could limit the dividend growth if earnings growth slows. It might be worth researching if the company is reinvesting in growth projects that could grow earnings and dividends in the future, but for now we're not all that optimistic on its dividend prospects.

Wondering what the future holds for Automatic Data Processing? See what the 16 analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

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. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.