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Here's What We Like About Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN)'s Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 14th of August will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 6th of September.

Amgen's next dividend payment will be US$1.45 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$5.80 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Amgen has a trailing yield of 3.1% on the current share price of $185.23. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Amgen's dividend is reliable and sustainable. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

Check out our latest analysis for Amgen

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. Amgen paid out a comfortable 44% of its profit last year. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Amgen generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. It distributed 38% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.

It's positive to see that Amgen'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.

NasdaqGS:AMGN Historical Dividend Yield, August 9th 2019

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. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Fortunately for readers, Amgen's earnings per share have been growing at 13% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share are growing rapidly and the company is keeping more than half of its earnings within the business; an attractive combination which could suggest the company is focused on reinvesting to grow earnings further. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Amgen has delivered an average of 23% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 8 years of dividend payments. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.

The Bottom Line

Is Amgen an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Amgen 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.

Wondering what the future holds for Amgen? See what the 21 analysts we track 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.

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.