Readers hoping to buy Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. You will need to purchase shares before the 21st of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 12th of September.
Applied Materials's upcoming dividend is US$0.21 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.84 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Applied Materials has a trailing yield of 1.8% on the current stock price of $47.16. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Applied Materials's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Applied Materials paid out just 22% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. It distributed 28% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
It's positive to see that Applied Materials'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.
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. That's why it's comforting to see Applied Materials's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 76% per annum for the past five years. Applied Materials is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow, while simultaneously growing earnings per share at a rapid clip. Companies with growing earnings and low payout ratios are often the best long-term dividend stocks, as the company can both grow its earnings and increase the percentage of earnings that it pays out, essentially multiplying the dividend.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, Applied Materials has lifted its dividend by approximately 13% a year on average. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.
Should investors buy Applied Materials for the upcoming dividend? Applied Materials 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. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
Ever wonder what the future holds for Applied Materials? See what the 25 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.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.