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Guess', Inc. (NYSE:GES) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 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 as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase Guess''s shares before the 7th of September to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 24th of September.
The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.11 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.45 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Guess' has a trailing yield of 1.9% on the current share price of $24.27. 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! 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. Guess' has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 13% of its income after tax. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. Luckily it paid out just 8.1% of its free cash flow last year.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. It's encouraging to see Guess' has grown its earnings rapidly, up 23% a year for the past five years. Guess' looks like a real growth company, with earnings per share growing at a cracking pace and the company reinvesting most of its profits in the business.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Guess' has seen its dividend decline 5.6% per annum on average over the past 10 years, which is not great to see. Guess' is a rare case where dividends have been decreasing at the same time as earnings per share have been improving. It's unusual to see, and could point to unstable conditions in the core business, or more rarely an intensified focus on reinvesting profits.
Is Guess' an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? It's great that Guess' is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. It's disappointing to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, but as things stand now, the low payout ratio suggests a conservative approach to dividends, which we like. There's a lot to like about Guess', and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.
So while Guess' looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. For example - Guess' has 3 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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