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Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) Looks Like A Good Stock, And It's Going Ex-Dividend Soon

Simply Wall St

Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 3 days time. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 29th of August will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 13th of September.

Costco Wholesale's upcoming dividend is US$0.65 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$2.60 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Costco Wholesale stock has a trailing yield of around 0.9% on the current share price of $274.01. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

See our latest analysis for Costco Wholesale

Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. That's why it's good to see Costco Wholesale paying out a modest 29% of its earnings. 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. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 39% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.

It's positive to see that Costco Wholesale'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.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

NasdaqGS:COST Historical Dividend Yield, August 25th 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, Costco Wholesale's earnings per share have been growing at 12% 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. This will make it easier to fund future growth efforts and we think this is an attractive combination - plus the dividend can always be increased later.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 10 years, Costco Wholesale has lifted its dividend by approximately 15% a year on average. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.

To Sum It Up

Is Costco Wholesale worth buying for its dividend? Costco Wholesale 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.

Wondering what the future holds for Costco Wholesale? See what the 23 analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising 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.