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Here's Why We're Wary Of Buying Cinemark Holdings, Inc.'s (NYSE:CNK) For Its Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

It looks like Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CNK) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 5th of March, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 20th of March.

Cinemark Holdings's next dividend payment will be US$0.36 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.36 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Cinemark Holdings stock has a trailing yield of around 5.5% on the current share price of $25.96. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

Check out our latest analysis for Cinemark Holdings

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. It paid out 84% of its earnings as dividends last year, which is not unreasonable, but limits reinvestment in the business and leaves the dividend vulnerable to a business downturn. We'd be concerned if earnings began to decline. 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. It paid out more than half (62%) of its free cash flow in the past year, which is within an average range for most companies.

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.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

NYSE:CNK Historical Dividend Yield, February 29th 2020

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies that aren't growing their earnings can still be valuable, but it is even more important to assess the sustainability of the dividend if it looks like the company will struggle to grow. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. It's not encouraging to see that Cinemark Holdings's earnings are effectively flat over the past five years. We'd take that over an earnings decline any day, but in the long run, the best dividend stocks all grow their earnings per share.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the last ten years, Cinemark Holdings has lifted its dividend by approximately 7.2% a year on average.

Final Takeaway

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Cinemark Holdings? Cinemark Holdings has been unable to generate earnings growth, but at least its dividend looks sustainable, with its profit and cashflow payout ratios within reasonable limits. It's not an attractive combination from a dividend perspective, and we're inclined to pass on this one for the time being.

Ever wonder what the future holds for Cinemark Holdings? See what the 12 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.

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.

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