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Is It Smart To Buy First Horizon National Corporation (NYSE:FHN) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend?

Simply Wall St

First Horizon National Corporation (NYSE:FHN) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. You will need to purchase shares before the 12th of December to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 2nd of January.

First Horizon National's next dividend payment will be US$0.14 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.56 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that First Horizon National has a trailing yield of 3.5% on the current share price of $16.01. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. So we need to investigate whether First Horizon National can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

See our latest analysis for First Horizon National

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Fortunately First Horizon National's payout ratio is modest, at just 41% of profit.

When a company paid out less in dividends than it earned in profit, this generally suggests its dividend is affordable. The lower the % of its profit that it pays out, the greater the margin of safety for the dividend if the business enters a downturn.

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

NYSE:FHN Historical Dividend Yield, December 7th 2019

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 earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. That's why it's comforting to see First Horizon National's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 72% per annum for the past five years.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the last nine years, First Horizon National has lifted its dividend by approximately 34% a year on average. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.

To Sum It Up

Is First Horizon National worth buying for its dividend? When companies are growing rapidly and retaining a majority of the profits within the business, it's usually a sign that reinvesting earnings creates more value than paying dividends to shareholders. This is one of the most attractive investment combinations under this analysis, as it can create substantial value for investors over the long run. First Horizon National ticks a lot of boxes for us from a dividend perspective, and we think these characteristics should mark the company as deserving of further attention.

Ever wonder what the future holds for First Horizon National? See what the 15 analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.