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What To Know Before Buying American River Bankshares (NASDAQ:AMRB) For Its Dividend

Simply Wall St

Dividend paying stocks like American River Bankshares (NASDAQ:AMRB) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason - some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. 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 slim 1.9% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, American River Bankshares could have potential. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on American River Bankshares!

NasdaqGS:AMRB Historical Dividend Yield, November 19th 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. So we need to form a view on if a company's dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 25% of American River Bankshares's profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. 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.

We update our data on American River Bankshares every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. American River Bankshares has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. Its dividend payments have fallen by 20% or more on at least one occasion over the past ten years. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.57 in 2009, compared to US$0.28 last year. The dividend has shrunk at around 6.9% a year during that period. American River Bankshares's dividend hasn't shrunk linearly at 6.9% per annum, but the CAGR is a useful estimate of the historical rate of change.

We struggle to make a case for buying American River Bankshares for its dividend, given that payments have shrunk over the past ten years.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, and a poor history of shrinking dividends, it's even more important to see if EPS are growing. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it's great to see American River Bankshares has grown its earnings per share at 21% per annum over the past five years. With high earnings per share growth in recent times and a modest payout ratio, we think this is an attractive combination if earnings can be reinvested to generate further growth.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that American River Bankshares's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Firstly, we like that American River Bankshares has a low and conservative payout ratio. Next, earnings growth has been good, but unfortunately the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. American River Bankshares has a number of positive attributes, but falls short of our ideal dividend company. It may be worth a look at the right price, though.

You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in American River Bankshares stock.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 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.