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Is It Smart To Buy The J. M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend?

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Simply Wall St
·4 min read
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The J. M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in three days. Ex-dividend means that investors that purchase the stock on or after the 11th of February will not receive this dividend, which will be paid on the 1st of March.

J. M. Smucker's next dividend payment will be US$0.90 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$3.60 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, J. M. Smucker has a trailing yield of approximately 3.1% on its current stock price of $114.46. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

Check out our latest analysis for J. M. Smucker

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. That's why it's good to see J. M. Smucker paying out a modest 46% of its earnings. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. It distributed 30% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.

It's positive to see that J. M. Smucker'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?

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. Fortunately for readers, J. M. Smucker's earnings per share have been growing at 18% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share are growing rapidly and the company is keeping more than half of its earnings within the business; an attractive combination which could suggest the company is focused on reinvesting to grow earnings further. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. J. M. Smucker has delivered an average of 8.4% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.

To Sum It Up

Has J. M. Smucker got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? J. M. Smucker has been growing earnings at a rapid rate, and has a conservatively low payout ratio, implying that it is reinvesting heavily in its business; a sterling combination. J. M. Smucker looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.

So while J. M. Smucker looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. For example, J. M. Smucker has 2 warning signs (and 1 which can't be ignored) we think you should know about.

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.