U.S. Markets closed

You Have To Love ESSA Bancorp, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:ESSA) Dividend

Simply Wall St

Could ESSA Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:ESSA) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it's important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

A 2.6% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests ESSA Bancorp has some staying power. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 3.6% of market capitalisation this year. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying ESSA Bancorp for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on ESSA Bancorp!

NasdaqGS:ESSA Historical Dividend Yield, May 21st 2019

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

Payout ratios

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. In the last year, ESSA Bancorp paid out 35% of its profit as dividends. This is medium payout level that leaves enough capital in the business to fund opportunities that might arise, while also rewarding shareholders. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

Consider getting our latest analysis on ESSA Bancorp's financial position 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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of ESSA Bancorp's dividend payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.16 in 2009, compared to US$0.40 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 9.6% a year over that time.


Dividend Growth Potential

While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. Earnings have grown at around 7.2% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! Earnings per share have been growing at a credible rate. What's more, the payout ratio is reasonable and provides some protection to the dividend, or even the potential to increase it.

Conclusion

When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. Firstly, we like that ESSA Bancorp has a low and conservative payout ratio. Second, earnings growth has been mediocre, but at least the dividends have been relatively stable. ESSA Bancorp fits all of our criteria, and we think it's an attractive dividend idea that would warrant further investigation.

See if management have their own wealth at stake, by checking insider shareholdings in ESSA Bancorp stock.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield 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.