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Here's How We Evaluate Movado Group, Inc.'s (NYSE:MOV) Dividend

Simply Wall St

Dividend paying stocks like Movado Group, Inc. (NYSE:MOV) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason - some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. Yet sometimes, investors buy a stock for its dividend and lose money because the share price falls by more than they earned in dividend payments.

With a 2.4% yield and a eight-year payment history, investors probably think Movado Group looks like a reliable dividend stock. A low yield is generally a turn-off, but if the prospects for earnings growth were strong, investors might be pleasantly surprised by the long-term results. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Movado Group for its dividend - read on to learn more.

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NYSE:MOV Historical Dividend Yield, May 22nd 2019

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Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. So we need to be form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. In the last year, Movado Group paid out 30% of its profit as dividends. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. Movado Group paid out 25% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservative and suggests the dividend is sustainable. 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.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Movado Group's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. Looking at the last decade of data, we can see that Movado Group paid its first dividend at least eight years ago. The dividend has been quite stable over the past eight years, which is great to see - although we usually like to see the dividend maintained for a decade before giving it full marks, though. During the past eight-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.12 in 2011, compared to US$0.80 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 27% a year over that time.

We're not overly excited about the relatively short history of dividend payments, however the dividend is growing at a nice rate and we might take a closer look.

Dividend Growth Potential

The other half of the dividend investing equation is evaluating whether earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Over the long term, dividends need to grow at or above the rate of inflation, in order to maintain the recipient's purchasing power. Movado Group has grown its earnings per share at 5.9% per annum over the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing at a credible rate. What's more, the payout ratio is reasonable and provides some protection to the dividend, or even the potential to increase it.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Movado Group's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. It's great to see that Movado Group is paying out a low percentage of its earnings and cash flow. Unfortunately, earnings growth has also been mediocre, and we think it has not been paying dividends long enough to demonstrate resilience across economic cycles. Overall we think Movado Group is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

Now, if you want to look closer, it would be worth checking out our free research on Movado Group management tenure, salary, and performance.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.

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.