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Should Income Investors Look At PCTEL, Inc. (NASDAQ:PCTI) Before Its Ex-Dividend?

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Readers hoping to buy PCTEL, Inc. (NASDAQ:PCTI) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order to receive a dividend. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase PCTEL's shares before the 5th of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 13th of August.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.055 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.22 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, PCTEL has a trailing yield of 3.3% on the current stock price of $6.65. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether PCTEL's dividend is reliable and sustainable. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

View our latest analysis for PCTEL

Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. PCTEL distributed an unsustainably high 116% of its profit as dividends to shareholders last year. Without extenuating circumstances, we'd consider the dividend at risk of a cut. 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 (52%) of its free cash flow in the past year, which is within an average range for most companies.

It's good to see that while PCTEL's dividends were not covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a cash perspective. If executives were to continue paying more in dividends than the company reported in profits, we'd view this as a warning sign. Extraordinarily few companies are capable of persistently paying a dividend that is greater than their profits.

Click here to see how much of its profit PCTEL paid out over the last 12 months.

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

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. That's why it's comforting to see PCTEL's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 37% per annum for the past five years.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 10 years, PCTEL has lifted its dividend by approximately 6.2% a year on average. 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 PCTEL worth buying for its dividend? Growing earnings per share and a normal cashflow payout ratio is an ok combination, but we're concerned that the company is paying out such a high percentage of its income as dividends. Overall, it's hard to get excited about PCTEL from a dividend perspective.

If you're not too concerned about PCTEL's ability to pay dividends, you should still be mindful of some of the other risks that this business faces. To help with this, we've discovered 2 warning signs for PCTEL that you should be aware of before investing in their shares.

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.

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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.