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Is Shore Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:SHBI) A Smart Pick For Income Investors?

Simply Wall St

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Dividend paying stocks like Shore Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:SHBI) 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. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

A 2.5% yield is nothing to get excited about, but investors probably think the long payment history suggests Shore Bancshares has some staying power. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Shore Bancshares for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Shore Bancshares!

NasdaqGS:SHBI Historical Dividend Yield, July 15th 2019

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. 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. In the last year, Shore Bancshares paid out 28% of its profit as dividends. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. One of the risks is that management reinvests the retained capital poorly instead of paying a higher dividend.

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

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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Shore Bancshares's dividend 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$0.64 in 2009, compared to US$0.40 last year. The dividend has shrunk at around 4.6% a year during that period. Shore Bancshares's dividend hasn't shrunk linearly at 4.6% per annum, but the CAGR is a useful estimate of the historical rate of change.

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

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to evaluate if earnings per share (EPS) are growing - it's not worth taking the risk on a dividend getting cut, unless you might be rewarded with larger dividends in future. It's good to see Shore Bancshares has been growing its earnings per share at 38% a year over the past 5 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

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 Shore Bancshares has a low and conservative payout ratio. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, but it was concerning to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Overall we think Shore Bancshares is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

See if management have their own wealth at stake, by checking insider shareholdings in Shore Bancshares 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.