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Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see First American Financial Corporation (NYSE:FAF) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. In other words, investors can purchase First American Financial's shares before the 7th of June in order to be eligible for the dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of June.
The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.46 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$1.84 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, First American Financial has a trailing yield of 2.8% on the current stock price of $64.88. 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! We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's 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. First American Financial has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 23% of its income after tax.
Companies that pay out less in dividends than they earn in profits generally have more sustainable dividends. The lower the payout ratio, the more wiggle room the business has before it could be forced to cut the dividend.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. It's encouraging to see First American Financial has grown its earnings rapidly, up 24% a year for the past five years.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. First American Financial has delivered an average of 23% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.
Should investors buy First American Financial for the upcoming dividend? When companies are growing rapidly and retaining a majority of the profits within the business, it's usually a sign that reinvesting earnings creates more value than paying dividends to shareholders. This is one of the most attractive investment combinations under this analysis, as it can create substantial value for investors over the long run. In summary, First American Financial appears to have some promise as a dividend stock, and we'd suggest taking a closer look at it.
On that note, you'll want to research what risks First American Financial is facing. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 1 warning sign with First American Financial and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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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