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Should You Buy National HealthCare Corporation (NYSEMKT:NHC) For Its Dividend?

Dividends play a key role in compounding returns over time and can form a large part of our portfolio return. Historically, National HealthCare Corporation (NYSEMKT:NHC) has paid dividends to shareholders, and these days it yields 2.5%. Does National HealthCare tick all the boxes of a great dividend stock? Below, I’ll take you through my analysis.

Check out our latest analysis for National HealthCare

5 checks you should use to assess a dividend stock

When assessing a stock as a potential addition to my dividend Portfolio, I look at these five areas:

  • Is their annual yield among the top 25% of dividend payers?
  • Has its dividend been stable over the past (i.e. no missed payments or significant payout cuts)?
  • Has dividend per share risen in the past couple of years?
  • Is its earnings sufficient to payout dividend at the current rate?
  • Based on future earnings growth, will it be able to continue to payout dividend at the current rate?
AMEX:NHC Historical Dividend Yield November 30th 18

Does National HealthCare pass our checks?

The current trailing twelve-month payout ratio for the stock is 48%, which means that the dividend is covered by earnings. Furthermore, analysts have not forecasted a dividends per share for the future, which makes it hard to determine the yield shareholders should expect, and whether the current payout is sustainable, moving forward.

When considering the sustainability of dividends, it is also worth checking the cash flow of a company. Cash flow is important because companies with strong cash flow can usually sustain higher payout ratios.

If dividend is a key criteria in your investment consideration, then you need to make sure the dividend stock you’re eyeing out is reliable in its payments. In the case of NHC it has increased its DPS from $0.96 to $2 in the past 10 years. It has also been paying out dividend consistently during this time, as you’d expect for a company increasing its dividend levels. These are all positive signs of a great, reliable dividend stock.

In terms of its peers, National HealthCare has a yield of 2.5%, which is high for Healthcare stocks but still below the market’s top dividend payers.

Next Steps:

Keeping in mind the dividend characteristics above, National HealthCare is definitely worth considering for investors looking to build a dedicated income portfolio. Given that this is purely a dividend analysis, I urge potential investors to try and get a good understanding of the underlying business and its fundamentals before deciding on an investment. There are three fundamental factors you should further examine:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for NHC’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for NHC’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is NHC worth today? Even if the stock is a cash cow, it’s not worth an infinite price. The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether NHC is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other Dividend Rockstars: Are there better dividend payers with stronger fundamentals out there? Check out our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.