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Is The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) An Attractive Dividend Stock?

Simply Wall St

Today we'll take a closer look at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it's important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

A 2.4% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Goldman Sachs Group has some staying power. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 6.9% of market capitalisation this year. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we'll go through this below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Goldman Sachs Group!

NYSE:GS Historical Dividend Yield, December 4th 2019

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Goldman Sachs Group paid out 16% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. With a low payout ratio, it looks like the dividend is comprehensively covered by earnings.

We update our data on Goldman Sachs Group every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. Goldman Sachs Group has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. During this period the dividend has been stable, which could imply the business could have relatively consistent earnings power. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$1.40 in 2009, compared to US$5.00 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 14% per year over this time.

With rapid dividend growth and no notable cuts to the dividend over a lengthy period of time, we think this company has a lot going for it.

Dividend Growth Potential

While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. Earnings have grown at around 6.7% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! A low payout ratio and strong historical earnings growth suggests Goldman Sachs Group has been effectively reinvesting in its business. We think this generally bodes well for its dividend prospects.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Goldman Sachs Group's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Firstly, we like that Goldman Sachs Group has a low and conservative payout ratio. Earnings growth has been limited, but we like that the dividend payments have been fairly consistent. Overall we think Goldman Sachs Group is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 20 analysts we track are forecasting for Goldman Sachs Group for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.