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Is It Smart To Buy Old Point Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:OPOF) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend?

Simply Wall St

Readers hoping to buy Old Point Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:OPOF) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. This means that investors who purchase shares on or after the 30th of August will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 27th of September.

Old Point Financial's upcoming dividend is US$0.12 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.48 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Old Point Financial has a trailing yield of 2.1% on the current stock price of $23.25. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Old Point Financial's dividend is reliable and sustainable. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

Check out our latest analysis for Old Point Financial

Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. That's why it's good to see Old Point Financial paying out a modest 36% of its earnings.

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 how much of its profit Old Point Financial paid out over the last 12 months.

NasdaqCM:OPOF Historical Dividend Yield, August 26th 2019

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. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. Fortunately for readers, Old Point Financial's earnings per share have been growing at 15% a year for the past five years.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Old Point Financial has seen its dividend decline 3.4% per annum on average over the past 10 years, which is not great to see. Old Point Financial is a rare case where dividends have been decreasing at the same time as earnings per share have been improving. It's unusual to see, and could point to unstable conditions in the core business, or more rarely an intensified focus on reinvesting profits.

Final Takeaway

Is Old Point Financial worth buying for its dividend? Typically, companies that are growing rapidly and paying out a low fraction of earnings are keeping the profits for reinvestment in the business. Perhaps even more importantly - this can sometimes signal management is focused on the long term future of the business. In summary, Old Point Financial appears to have some promise as a dividend stock, and we'd suggest taking a closer look at it.

Want to learn more about Old Point Financial? Here's a visualisation of its historical rate of revenue and earnings growth.

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.

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.