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Don't Buy Old Republic International Corporation (NYSE:ORI) For Its Next Dividend Without Doing These Checks

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Readers hoping to buy Old Republic International Corporation (NYSE:ORI) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. Investors can purchase shares before the 3rd of December in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of December.

Old Republic International's upcoming dividend is US$0.21 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.84 per share to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Old Republic International has a trailing yield of 4.5% on the current share price of $18.59. 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! As a result, readers should always check whether Old Republic International has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

View our latest analysis for Old Republic International

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. It paid out 79% of its earnings as dividends last year, which is not unreasonable, but limits reinvestment in the business and leaves the dividend vulnerable to a business downturn. We'd be worried about the risk of a drop in earnings.

When a company paid out less in dividends than it earned in profit, this generally suggests its dividend is affordable. The lower the % of its profit that it pays out, the greater the margin of safety for the dividend if the business enters a downturn.

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

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historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Readers will understand then, why we're concerned to see Old Republic International's earnings per share have dropped 7.9% 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. Old Republic International has delivered an average of 2.0% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments.

To Sum It Up

Has Old Republic International got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share have been declining and the company is paying out more than half its profits to shareholders; not an enticing combination. All things considered, we're not optimistic about its dividend prospects, and would be inclined to leave it on the shelf for now.

So if you're still interested in Old Republic International despite it's poor dividend qualities, you should be well informed on some of the risks facing this stock. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Old Republic International you should know about.

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.

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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