Readers hoping to buy Commerce Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBSH) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the dividend. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. In other words, investors can purchase Commerce Bancshares' shares before the 5th of September in order to be eligible for the dividend, which will be paid on the 25th of September.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.27 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$1.08 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Commerce Bancshares has a trailing yield of 2.2% on the current share price of $49.33. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to investigate whether Commerce Bancshares can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.
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. That's why it's good to see Commerce Bancshares paying out a modest 26% of its earnings.
When a company paid out less in dividends than it earned in profit, this generally suggests its dividend is affordable. The lower the % of its profit that it pays out, the greater the margin of safety for the dividend if the business enters a downturn.
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. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. Fortunately for readers, Commerce Bancshares's earnings per share have been growing at 12% a year for the past five years.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, Commerce Bancshares has lifted its dividend by approximately 7.2% a year on average. 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
Has Commerce Bancshares got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? When companies are growing rapidly and retaining a majority of the profits within the business, it's usually a sign that reinvesting earnings creates more value than paying dividends to shareholders. This strategy can add significant value to shareholders over the long term - as long as it's done without issuing too many new shares. Commerce Bancshares ticks a lot of boxes for us from a dividend perspective, and we think these characteristics should mark the company as deserving of further attention.
With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 1 warning sign with Commerce Bancshares and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
A common investing mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a full list of high-yield dividend stocks.
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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.