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Hospitality Properties Trust (NASDAQ:HPT) Stock Goes Ex-Dividend In Just 3 Days

Simply Wall St

It looks like Hospitality Properties Trust (NASDAQ:HPT) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 3 days. Investors can purchase shares before the 26th of July in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of August.

Hospitality Properties Trust's next dividend payment will be US$0.54 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$2.16 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Hospitality Properties Trust has a trailing yield of 8.8% on the current stock price of $24.56. 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.

See our latest analysis for Hospitality Properties Trust

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. Hospitality Properties Trust is paying out an acceptable 60% of its profit, a common payout level among most companies. While Hospitality Properties Trust seems to be paying out a very high percentage of its income, REITs have different dividend payment behaviour and so, while we don't think this is great, we also don't think it is unusual. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. It paid out more than half (59%) of its free cash flow in the past year, which is within an average range for most companies.

It's positive to see that Hospitality Properties Trust'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.

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

NasdaqGS:HPT Historical Dividend Yield, July 22nd 2019

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 business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. That's why it's comforting to see Hospitality Properties Trust's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 22% per annum for the past five years. Management appears to be striking a nice balance between reinvesting for growth and paying dividends to shareholders. With a reasonable payout ratio, profits being reinvested, and some earnings growth, Hospitality Properties Trust could have strong prospects for future increases to the dividend.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Hospitality Properties Trust's dividend payments per share have declined at 3.5% per year on average over the past 10 years, which is uninspiring. Hospitality Properties Trust is a rare case where dividends have been decreasing at the same time as earnings per share have been improving. It's unusual to see, and could point to unstable conditions in the core business, or more rarely an intensified focus on reinvesting profits.

The Bottom Line

Should investors buy Hospitality Properties Trust for the upcoming dividend? It's good to see earnings are growing, since all of the best dividend stocks grow their earnings meaningfully over the long run. However, we'd also note that Hospitality Properties Trust is paying out more than half of its earnings and cash flow as profits, which could limit the dividend growth if earnings growth slows. Overall, it's not a bad combination, but we feel that there are likely more attractive dividend prospects out there.

Ever wonder what the future holds for Hospitality Properties Trust? See what the three analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising 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 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.