Citizens & Northern Corporation (NASDAQ:CZNC) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. You will need to purchase shares before the 26th of July to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 9th of August.
Citizens & Northern's next dividend payment will be US$0.27 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$1.08 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Citizens & Northern has a trailing yield of approximately 4.3% on its current stock price of $25.18. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
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. Citizens & Northern paid out 68% of its earnings to investors last year, a normal payout level for most businesses.
When a company paid out less in dividends than it earned in profit, this generally suggests its dividend is affordable. The lower the % of its profit that it pays out, the greater the margin of safety for the dividend if the business enters a downturn.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Stocks with flat earnings can still be attractive dividend payers, but it is important to be more conservative with your approach and demand a greater margin for safety when it comes to dividend sustainability. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. It's not encouraging to see that Citizens & Northern's earnings are effectively flat over the past five years. Better than seeing them fall off a cliff, for sure, but the best dividend stocks grow their earnings meaningfully over the long run.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Citizens & Northern has delivered an average of 1.2% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments.
To Sum It Up
Should investors buy Citizens & Northern for the upcoming dividend? Citizens & Northern's earnings are effectively flat over recent years, even as the company pays out more than half of its earnings to shareholders as dividends. At best we would put it on a watch-list to see if business conditions improve, as it doesn't look like a clear opportunity right now.
Want to learn more about Citizens & Northern's dividend performance? Check out this visualisation of its historical revenue and earnings growth.
We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.