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Income Investors Should Know That Standard Motor Products, Inc. (NYSE:SMP) Goes Ex-Dividend Soon

Simply Wall St

Readers hoping to buy Standard Motor Products, Inc. (NYSE:SMP) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. If you purchase the stock on or after the 13th of February, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 2nd of March.

Standard Motor Products's next dividend payment will be US$0.25 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.92 per share. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Standard Motor Products has a trailing yield of 2.0% on the current share price of $50.86. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. As a result, readers should always check whether Standard Motor Products has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

View our latest analysis for Standard Motor Products

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. That's why it's good to see Standard Motor Products paying out a modest 30% 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. It paid out more than half (70%) of its free cash flow in the past year, which is within an average range for most companies.

It's positive to see that Standard Motor Products'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.

NYSE:SMP Historical Dividend Yield, February 9th 2020

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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at Standard Motor Products, with earnings per share up 5.8% on average over the last five years. While earnings have been growing at a credible rate, the company is paying out a majority of its earnings to shareholders. If management lifts the payout ratio further, we'd take this as a tacit signal that the company's growth prospects are slowing.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the last ten years, Standard Motor Products has lifted its dividend by approximately 17% a year on average. It's encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.

To Sum It Up

Is Standard Motor Products worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share growth has been modest, and it's interesting that Standard Motor Products is paying out less than half of its earnings and more than half its cash flow to shareholders in the form of dividends. All things considered, we are not particularly enthused about Standard Motor Products from a dividend perspective.

Wondering what the future holds for Standard Motor Products? See what the three 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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.