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Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company's record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase NIKE's shares before the 3rd of December to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 28th of December.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.30 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.10 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, NIKE stock has a trailing yield of around 0.7% on the current share price of $168.02. 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.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. NIKE paid out a comfortable 29% of its profit last year. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 27% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
It's positive to see that NIKE'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.
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 fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Fortunately for readers, NIKE's earnings per share have been growing at 12% a year for the past five years. The company has managed to grow earnings at a rapid rate, while reinvesting most of the profits within the business. This will make it easier to fund future growth efforts and we think this is an attractive combination - plus the dividend can always be increased later.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. NIKE has delivered 15% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.
To Sum It Up
Has NIKE got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? We love that NIKE is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. These characteristics suggest the company is reinvesting in growing its business, while the conservative payout ratio also implies a reduced risk of the dividend being cut in the future. There's a lot to like about NIKE, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.
Wondering what the future holds for NIKE? See what the 29 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.
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.
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