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What To Know Before Buying CNA Financial Corporation (NYSE:CNA) For Its Dividend

Simply Wall St

A sizeable part of portfolio returns can be produced by dividend stocks due to their contribution to compounding returns in the long run. Historically, CNA Financial Corporation (NYSE:CNA) has been paying a dividend to shareholders. Today it yields 7.9%. Let’s dig deeper into whether CNA Financial should have a place in your portfolio.

View our latest analysis for CNA Financial

5 checks you should do on a dividend stock

Whenever I am looking at a potential dividend stock investment, I always check these five metrics:

  • Does it pay an annual yield higher than 75% of dividend payers?
  • Does it consistently pay out dividends without missing a payment of significantly cutting payout?
  • Has the amount of dividend per share grown over the past?
  • Can it afford to pay the current rate of dividends from its earnings?
  • Will the company be able to keep paying dividend based on the future earnings growth?
NYSE:CNA Historical Dividend Yield, March 13th 2019

Does CNA Financial pass our checks?

The company currently pays out 43% of its earnings as a dividend, according to its trailing twelve-month data, which means that the dividend is covered by earnings. In the near future, analysts are predicting a higher payout ratio of 93% which, assuming the share price stays the same, leads to a dividend yield of around 7.3%. Moreover, EPS should increase to $4.1. The higher payout forecasted, along with higher earnings, should lead to greater dividend income for investors moving forward. However this does bring about uncertainty around the sustainability of the payout ratio.

When assessing the forecast sustainability of a dividend it is also worth considering the cash flow of the business. A company with strong cash flow, relative to earnings, can sometimes sustain a high pay out ratio.

If dividend is a key criteria in your investment consideration, then you need to make sure the dividend stock you’re eyeing out is reliable in its payments. The reality is that it is too early to consider CNA Financial as a dividend investment. It has only been consistently paying dividends for 8 years, however, standard practice for reliable payers is to look for a 10-year minimum track record.

Compared to its peers, CNA Financial produces a yield of 7.9%, which is high for Insurance stocks.

Next Steps:

If you are building an income portfolio, then CNA Financial is a complicated choice since it has some positive aspects as well as negative ones. But if you are not exclusively a dividend investor, the stock could still be an interesting investment opportunity. Given that this is purely a dividend analysis, I recommend taking sufficient time to understand its core business and determine whether the company and its investment properties suit your overall goals. Below, I’ve compiled three fundamental factors you should further examine:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for CNA’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for CNA’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is CNA worth today? Even if the stock is a cash cow, it’s not worth an infinite price. The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether CNA is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Dividend Rockstars: Are there better dividend payers with stronger fundamentals out there? Check out our free list of these great stocks here.

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.