Deluxe Corporation (NYSE:DLX) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days time. You can purchase shares before the 16th of August in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 3rd of September.
Deluxe's upcoming dividend is US$0.30 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$1.20 per share to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Deluxe has a trailing yield of 2.7% on the current share price of $44. 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! So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
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. Deluxe paid out more than half (54%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Deluxe generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. The good news is it paid out just 23% of its free cash flow in the last year.
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?
When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Readers will understand then, why we're concerned to see Deluxe's earnings per share have dropped 9.6% a year over the past five years. When earnings per share fall, the maximum amount of dividends that can be paid also falls.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Deluxe has delivered an average of 1.8% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments.
The Bottom Line
Is Deluxe an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? The payout ratios are within a reasonable range, implying the dividend may be sustainable. Declining earnings are a serious concern, however, and could pose a threat to the dividend in future. Overall, it's hard to get excited about Deluxe from a dividend perspective.
Ever wonder what the future holds for Deluxe? See what the three analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow
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.