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Is It Smart To Buy Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (NYSE:BAH) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend?

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Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (NYSE:BAH) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date, which is the cut-off date for shareholders to be present on the company's books to be eligible for a dividend payment. The ex-dividend date is important because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. Meaning, you will need to purchase Booz Allen Hamilton Holding's shares before the 13th of August to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 31st of August.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.37 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.48 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Booz Allen Hamilton Holding has a trailing yield of approximately 1.8% on its current stock price of $81.78. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

See our latest analysis for Booz Allen Hamilton Holding

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. That's why it's good to see Booz Allen Hamilton Holding paying out a modest 33% of its earnings. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Booz Allen Hamilton Holding generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Fortunately, it paid out only 38% of its free cash flow in the past year.

It's positive to see that Booz Allen Hamilton Holding'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.

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Fortunately for readers, Booz Allen Hamilton Holding's earnings per share have been growing at 16% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing rapidly and the company is retaining a majority of its earnings within the business. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the last 10 years, Booz Allen Hamilton Holding has lifted its dividend by approximately 15% a year on average. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.

Final Takeaway

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Booz Allen Hamilton Holding? It's great that Booz Allen Hamilton Holding is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. It's disappointing to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, but as things stand now, the low payout ratio suggests a conservative approach to dividends, which we like. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.

With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. We've identified 3 warning signs with Booz Allen Hamilton Holding (at least 1 which is significant), and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.