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CSX Corporation (NASDAQ:CSX) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 25th of February, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 15th of March.
CSX's next dividend payment will be US$0.28 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$1.12 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, CSX has a trailing yield of 1.2% on the current stock price of $92.09. 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 typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Fortunately CSX's payout ratio is modest, at just 29% 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. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 30% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
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.
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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Fortunately for readers, CSX's earnings per share have been growing at 13% 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.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, CSX has lifted its dividend by approximately 13% a year on average. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.
To Sum It Up
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid CSX? CSX 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.
In light of that, while CSX has an appealing dividend, it's worth knowing the risks involved with this stock. Our analysis shows 1 warning sign for CSX and you should be aware of this before buying any shares.
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.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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