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Dividend Investors: Don't Be Too Quick To Buy First National Financial Corporation (TSE:FN) For Its Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

Readers hoping to buy First National Financial Corporation (TSE:FN) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. If you purchase the stock on or after the 29th of August, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 16th of September.

First National Financial's next dividend payment will be CA$0.16 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of CA$2.90 per share. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that First National Financial has a trailing yield of 8.0% on the current share price of CA$36.15. 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.

See our latest analysis for First National Financial

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. Its dividend payout ratio is 76% of profit, which means the company is paying out a majority of its earnings. The relatively limited profit reinvestment could slow the rate of future earnings growth It could become a concern if earnings started to decline.

Generally speaking, the lower a company's payout ratios, the more resilient its dividend usually is.

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

TSX:FN Historical Dividend Yield, August 24th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. That's why it's not ideal to see First National Financial's earnings per share have been shrinking at 2.1% a year over the previous five years.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 10 years, First National Financial has lifted its dividend by approximately 7.9% a year on average. That's interesting, but the combination of a growing dividend despite declining earnings can typically only be achieved by paying out more of the company's profits. This can be valuable for shareholders, but it can't go on forever.

Final Takeaway

Should investors buy First National Financial for the upcoming dividend? We're not overly enthused to see First National Financial's earnings in retreat at the same time as the company is paying out more than half of its earnings as dividends to shareholders. All things considered, we're not optimistic about its dividend prospects, and would be inclined to leave it on the shelf for now.

Curious what other investors think of First National Financial? See what analysts 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.

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.