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Is W. R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB) A Smart Choice For Dividend Investors?

Becky Mayes

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There is a lot to be liked about W. R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE:WRB) as an income stock. It has paid dividends over the past 10 years. The stock currently pays out a dividend yield of 2.5%, and has a market cap of US$10b. Does W. R. Berkley tick all the boxes of a great dividend stock? Below, I’ll take you through my analysis.

Check out our latest analysis for W. R. Berkley

How I analyze a dividend stock

When assessing a stock as a potential addition to my dividend Portfolio, I look at these five areas:

  • Is it the top 25% annual dividend yield payer?
  • Has its dividend been stable over the past (i.e. no missed payments or significant payout cuts)?
  • Has it increased its dividend per share amount over the past?
  • Is its earnings sufficient to payout dividend at the current rate?
  • Will it be able to continue to payout at the current rate in the future?
NYSE:WRB Historical Dividend Yield, February 24th 2019

How well does W. R. Berkley fit our criteria?

The company currently pays out 12% of its earnings as a dividend, according to its trailing twelve-month data, which means that the dividend is covered by earnings. In the near future, analysts are predicting a higher payout ratio of 24% which, assuming the share price stays the same, leads to a dividend yield of around 0.9%. However, EPS is forecasted to fall to $4.3 in the upcoming year. Therefore, although payout is expected to increase, the fall in earnings may not equate to higher dividend income.

When assessing the forecast sustainability of a dividend it is also worth considering the cash flow of the business. A company with strong cash flow, relative to earnings, can sometimes sustain a high pay out ratio.

If there is one thing that you want to be reliable in your life, it’s dividend stocks and their constant income stream. WRB has increased its DPS from $0.24 to $2.1 in the past 10 years. During this period it has not missed a payment, as one would expect for a company increasing its dividend. These are all positive signs of a great, reliable dividend stock.

Relative to peers, W. R. Berkley generates a yield of 2.5%, which is high for Insurance stocks but still below the market’s top dividend payers.

Next Steps:

With these dividend metrics in mind, I definitely rank W. R. Berkley as a strong income stock, and is worth further research for anyone who considers dividends an important part of their portfolio strategy. Given that this is purely a dividend analysis, you should always research extensively before deciding whether or not a stock is an appropriate investment for you. I always recommend analysing the company’s fundamentals and underlying business before making an investment decision. Below, I’ve compiled three pertinent factors you should further research:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for WRB’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for WRB’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is WRB 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 WRB is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other Dividend Rockstars: Are there better dividend payers with stronger fundamentals out there? Check out our free list of these great stocks here.

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.