Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see NZX Limited (NZSE:NZX) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. 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.
NZX's next dividend payment will be NZ$0.035 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed NZ$0.061 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that NZX has a trailing yield of 4.9% on the current share price of NZ$1.25. 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.
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. NZX distributed an unsustainably high 123% of its profit as dividends to shareholders last year. Without more sustainable payment behaviour, the dividend looks precarious.
Generally, the higher a company's payout ratio, the more the dividend is at risk of being reduced.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies that aren't growing their earnings can still be valuable, but it is even more important to assess the sustainability of the dividend if it looks like the company will struggle to grow. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. It's not encouraging to see that NZX'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. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, NZX has lifted its dividend by approximately 8.6% a year on average.
To Sum It Up
Should investors buy NZX for the upcoming dividend? While we're glad to see that its earnings aren't shrinking, we're not enamored of the fact that it's paying out 123% of last year's earnings. 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 NZX? See what analysts are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow .
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.
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 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.