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H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB) Pays A 1.1% In Just 3

Simply Wall St

Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 12th of September will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 1st of October.

H&R Block's upcoming dividend is US$0.26 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$1.04 per share to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, H&R Block has a trailing yield of approximately 4.3% on its current stock price of $24.14. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether H&R Block's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to investigate whether H&R Block can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

Check out our latest analysis for H&R Block

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. H&R Block paid out a comfortable 46% of its profit last year. 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. It paid out more than half (52%) of its free cash flow in the past year, which is within an average range for most companies.

It's positive to see that H&R Block's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

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

NYSE:HRB Historical Dividend Yield, September 8th 2019

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 business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. This is why it's a relief to see H&R Block earnings per share are up 3.8% per annum over the last five years. Earnings growth has been slim and the company is paying out more than half of its earnings. While there is some room to both increase the payout ratio and reinvest in the business, generally the higher a payout ratio goes, the lower a company's prospects for future growth.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. H&R Block has delivered an average of 5.7% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.

To Sum It Up

Is H&R Block worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have been growing at a steady rate, and H&R Block paid out less than half its profits and more than half its free cash flow as dividends over the last year. All things considered, we are not particularly enthused about H&R Block from a dividend perspective.

Wondering what the future holds for H&R Block? See what the six analysts we track 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 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. Thank you for reading.