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Should Income Investors Look At Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC) Before Its Ex-Dividend?

Simply Wall St

Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. Investors can purchase shares before the 5th of September in order to be eligible for this dividend, which will be paid on the 1st of October.

Genuine Parts's next dividend payment will be US$0.76 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$3.05 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Genuine Parts has a trailing yield of approximately 3.4% on its current stock price of $90.29. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Genuine Parts's dividend is reliable and sustainable. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

View our latest analysis for Genuine Parts

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. Genuine Parts paid out more than half (55%) of its earnings last year, which is a regular payout ratio for most companies. 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. Dividends consumed 60% of the company's free cash flow last year, which is within a normal range for most dividend-paying organisations.

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:GPC Historical Dividend Yield, August 31st 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. 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 Genuine Parts, with earnings per share up 4.1% on average over the last five years. Earnings per share growth has been slim, and the company is already paying out a majority of its earnings. While there is some room to both increase the payout ratio and reinvest in the business, generally the higher a payout ratio goes, the lower a company's prospects for future growth.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Genuine Parts has delivered 6.9% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. It's encouraging to see the company lifting dividends while earnings are growing, suggesting at least some corporate interest in rewarding shareholders.

Final Takeaway

Should investors buy Genuine Parts for the upcoming dividend? Earnings per share growth has been unremarkable, and while the company is paying out a majority of its earnings and cash flow in the form of dividends, the dividend payments don't appear excessive. Overall, it's hard to get excited about Genuine Parts from a dividend perspective.

Ever wonder what the future holds for Genuine Parts? See what the 13 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.