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Kearny Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:KRNY) Has Got What It Takes To Be An Attractive Dividend Stock

Simply Wall St

Is Kearny Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:KRNY) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. If you are hoping to live on your dividends, it's important to be more stringent with your investments than the average punter. Regular readers know we like to apply the same approach to each dividend stock, and we hope you'll find our analysis useful.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for Kearny Financial. We'd guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 13% of the company's market capitalisation at the time. Some simple research can reduce the risk of buying Kearny Financial for its dividend - read on to learn more.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Kearny Financial!

NasdaqGS:KRNY Historical Dividend Yield, September 30th 2019

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. Kearny Financial paid out 45% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Kearny Financial's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. Kearny Financial has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. This dividend has been unstable, which we define as having fallen by at least 20% one or more times over this time. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.14 in 2009, compared to US$0.40 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 11% a year over that time. Kearny Financial's dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn't grown 11% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.

Kearny Financial has grown distributions at a rapid rate despite cutting the dividend at least once in the past. Companies that cut once often cut again, but it might be worth considering if the business has turned a corner.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to see if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Why take the risk of a dividend getting cut, unless there's a good chance of bigger dividends in future? It's good to see Kearny Financial has been growing its earnings per share at 33% a year over the past five years. Earnings per share have rocketed in recent times, and we like that the company is retaining more than half of its earnings to reinvest. However, always remember that very few companies can grow at double digit rates forever.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Kearny Financial's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We're glad to see Kearny Financial has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Kearny Financial has a credible record on several fronts, but falls slightly short of our standards for a dividend stock.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 3 Kearny Financial analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.

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.