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Should You Buy Barrett Business Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBSI) For Its Upcoming Dividend In 3 Days?

Simply Wall St

Barrett Business Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBSI) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 22nd of August will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 6th of September.

Barrett Business Services's next dividend payment will be US$0.30 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$1.20 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Barrett Business Services has a trailing yield of 1.4% on the current stock price of $88.19. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. As a result, readers should always check whether Barrett Business Services has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

View our latest analysis for Barrett Business Services

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Barrett Business Services is paying out just 16% of its profit after tax, which is comfortably low and leaves plenty of breathing room in the case of adverse events. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Barrett Business Services generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Luckily it paid out just 8.7% of its free cash flow 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:BBSI Historical Dividend Yield, August 18th 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. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. That's why it's comforting to see Barrett Business Services's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 24% per annum for the past five years. Barrett Business Services 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. In the last 10 years, Barrett Business Services has lifted its dividend by approximately 14% a year on average. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.

The Bottom Line

Is Barrett Business Services worth buying for its dividend? Barrett Business Services 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.

Curious what other investors think of Barrett Business Services? See what analysts 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.

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.