Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that The Hackett Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HCKT) is about to go ex-dividend in just 4 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 19th of December, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 7th of January.
Hackett Group's next dividend payment will be US$0.18 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.36 per share. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Hackett Group has a trailing yield of 2.3% on the current share price of $15.49. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are 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. Hackett Group paid out a comfortable 44% 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 distributed 39% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
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?
Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. That's why it's comforting to see Hackett Group's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 22% per annum for the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing very quickly, and the company is paying out a relatively low percentage of its profit and cash flow. Companies with growing earnings and low payout ratios are often the best long-term dividend stocks, as the company can both grow its earnings and increase the percentage of earnings that it pays out, essentially multiplying the dividend.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, seven years ago, Hackett Group has lifted its dividend by approximately 20% a year on average. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.
The Bottom Line
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Hackett Group? Hackett Group has been growing earnings at a rapid rate, and has a conservatively low payout ratio, implying that it is reinvesting heavily in its business; a sterling combination. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
Curious what other investors think of Hackett Group? See what analysts are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow.
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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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