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Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI) Could Be A Buy For Its Upcoming Dividend

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It looks like Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:MSI) is about to go ex-dividend in the next four days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 12th of March will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of April.

Motorola Solutions's next dividend payment will be US$0.71 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$2.84 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Motorola Solutions has a trailing yield of 1.6% on the current share price of $178.87. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. As a result, readers should always check whether Motorola Solutions has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

See our latest analysis for Motorola Solutions

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. Motorola Solutions paid out a comfortable 47% of its profit last year. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Motorola Solutions generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Fortunately, it paid out only 31% of its free cash flow in the past year.

It's positive to see that Motorola Solutions's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

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historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Fortunately for readers, Motorola Solutions's earnings per share have been growing at 12% a year for the past five years. The company has managed to grow earnings at a rapid rate, while reinvesting most of the profits within the business. This will make it easier to fund future growth efforts and we think this is an attractive combination - plus the dividend can always be increased later.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Motorola Solutions has delivered an average of 12% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.

The Bottom Line

Should investors buy Motorola Solutions for the upcoming dividend? We love that Motorola Solutions is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. These characteristics suggest the company is reinvesting in growing its business, while the conservative payout ratio also implies a reduced risk of the dividend being cut in the future. There's a lot to like about Motorola Solutions, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.

With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. Our analysis shows 2 warning signs for Motorola Solutions and you should be aware of these before buying any shares.

We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting 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.

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