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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 Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. You will need to purchase shares before the 16th of July to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 31st of July.
Oracle's next dividend payment will be US$0.24 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.96 per share. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Oracle has a trailing yield of 1.6% on the current share price of $59.99. 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 usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. That's why it's good to see Oracle paying out a modest 27% of its earnings. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 23% of its cash flow last year.
It's positive to see that Oracle'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?
Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. This is why it's a relief to see Oracle earnings per share are up 4.7% per annum over the last five years.
Earnings per share growth in recent times has not been a standout. Yet there are several ways to grow the dividend, and one of them is simply that the company may choose to pay out more of its earnings as dividends.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Oracle has delivered an average of 17% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. 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
Is Oracle worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share have been growing moderately, and Oracle is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow as dividends, which is an attractive combination as it suggests the company is investing in growth. It might be nice to see earnings growing faster, but Oracle is being conservative with its dividend payouts and could still perform reasonably over the long run. There's a lot to like about Oracle, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.
Curious what other investors think of Oracle? See what analysts 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.