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Washington Federal, Inc. (NASDAQ:WAFD) Looks Interesting, And It's About To Pay A Dividend

Simply Wall St

Washington Federal, Inc. (NASDAQ:WAFD) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days time. You will need to purchase shares before the 7th of November to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 22nd of November.

Washington Federal's upcoming dividend is US$0.2 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.8 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Washington Federal stock has a trailing yield of around 2.3% on the current share price of $36.71. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to investigate whether Washington Federal can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

View our latest analysis for Washington Federal

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. Washington Federal paid out a comfortable 31% of its profit last year.

Companies that pay out less in dividends than they earn in profits generally have more sustainable dividends. The lower the payout ratio, the more wiggle room the business has before it could be forced to cut the dividend.

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

NasdaqGS:WAFD Historical Dividend Yield, November 2nd 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 business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Fortunately for readers, Washington Federal's earnings per share have been growing at 11% a year 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. Since the start of our data, ten years ago, Washington Federal has lifted its dividend by approximately 15% a year on average. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.

To Sum It Up

Is Washington Federal an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Typically, companies that are growing rapidly and paying out a low fraction of earnings are keeping the profits for reinvestment in the business. This is one of the most attractive investment combinations under this analysis, as it can create substantial value for investors over the long run. In summary, Washington Federal appears to have some promise as a dividend stock, and we'd suggest taking a closer look at it.

Wondering what the future holds for Washington Federal? See what the four analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

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.

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.