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Should You Buy Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAR) For Its Upcoming Dividend In 3 Days?

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 Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAR) is about to go ex-dividend in just 3 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 21st of August, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 30th of September.

Marriott International's upcoming dividend is US$0.48 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$1.92 per share to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Marriott International has a trailing yield of 1.5% on the current share price of $128.82. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. As a result, readers should always check whether Marriott International has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

Check out our latest analysis for Marriott International

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. Fortunately Marriott International's payout ratio is modest, at just 41% of profit. 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 35% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.

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:MAR Historical Dividend Yield, August 17th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Fortunately for readers, Marriott International's earnings per share have been growing at 15% a year for the past 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.

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, Marriott International has lifted its dividend by approximately 19% a year on average. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.

Final Takeaway

Has Marriott International got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? It's great that Marriott International is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. It's disappointing to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, but as things stand now, the low payout ratio suggests a conservative approach to dividends, which we like. There's a lot to like about Marriott International, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.

Wondering what the future holds for Marriott International? See what the 19 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.

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.