Shares of Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE:SCCO) will begin trading ex-dividend in 4 days. To qualify for the dividend check of US$0.40 per share, investors must have owned the shares prior to 06 November 2018, which is the last day the company’s management will finalize their list of shareholders to which they will send dividend payments. Is this future income stream a compelling catalyst for dividend investors to think about the stock as an investment today? Let’s take a look at Southern Copper’s most recent financial data to examine its dividend characteristics in more detail.
5 questions to ask before buying a dividend stock
If you are a dividend investor, you should always assess these five key metrics:
- Does it pay an annual yield higher than 75% of dividend payers?
- Does it consistently pay out dividends without missing a payment of significantly cutting payout?
- Has it increased its dividend per share amount over the past?
- Is its earnings sufficient to payout dividend at the current rate?
- Will the company be able to keep paying dividend based on the future earnings growth?
How well does Southern Copper fit our criteria?
The current trailing twelve-month payout ratio for SCCO is 100%, which means that the dividend is not well-covered by its earnings. However, going forward, analysts expect SCCO’s payout to fall into a more sustainable range of 45% of its earnings, which leads to a dividend yield of around 3.6%. In addition to this, EPS should increase to $2.55, meaning that the lower payout ratio does not necessarily implicate a lower dividend payment.
When considering the sustainability of dividends, it is also worth checking the cash flow of a company. Cash flow is important because companies with strong cash flow can usually sustain higher payout ratios.
Reliablity is an important factor for dividend stocks, particularly for income investors who want a strong track record of payment and a positive outlook for future payout. Not only have dividend payouts from Southern Copper fallen over the past 10 years, it has also been highly volatile during this time, with drops of over 25% in some years. This means that dividend hunters should probably steer clear of the stock, at least for now until the track record improves.
In terms of its peers, Southern Copper generates a yield of 4.3%, which is high for Metals and Mining stocks.
If you are building an income portfolio, then Southern Copper is a complicated choice since it has some positive aspects as well as negative ones. However, if you are not strictly just a dividend investor, the stock could still offer some interesting investment opportunities. Given that this is purely a dividend analysis, I urge potential investors to try and get a good understanding of the underlying business and its fundamentals before deciding on an investment. There are three relevant factors you should further research:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for SCCO’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SCCO’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is SCCO worth today? Even if the stock is a cash cow, it’s not worth an infinite price. The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether SCCO is currently mispriced by the market.
- Dividend Rockstars: Are there better dividend payers with stronger fundamentals out there? Check out our free list of these great stocks here.
To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at email@example.com.