Readers hoping to buy Cathay General Bancorp (NASDAQ:CATY) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. If you purchase the stock on or after the 30th of August, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 13th of September.
Cathay General Bancorp's next dividend payment will be US$0.31 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$1.24 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Cathay General Bancorp has a trailing yield of approximately 3.8% on its current stock price of $32.42. 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.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Fortunately Cathay General Bancorp's payout ratio is modest, at just 37% of profit.
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.
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 decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. For this reason, we're glad to see Cathay General Bancorp's earnings per share have risen 19% per annum over the last five years.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Cathay General Bancorp has delivered 11% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.
The Bottom Line
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Cathay General Bancorp? Companies like Cathay General Bancorp that are growing rapidly and paying out a low fraction of earnings, are usually reinvesting heavily in their business. Perhaps even more importantly - this can sometimes signal management is focused on the long term future of the business. In summary, Cathay General Bancorp appears to have some promise as a dividend stock, and we'd suggest taking a closer look at it.
Ever wonder what the future holds for Cathay General Bancorp? See what the six 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 email@example.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.