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Why You Might Be Interested In Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCS.A) For Its Upcoming Dividend

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Readers hoping to buy Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCS.A) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible to receive a dividend. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase Comcast's shares before the 5th of July to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 27th of July.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.27 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.08 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Comcast has a trailing yield of 2.8% on the current stock price of $39.24. 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 check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

See our latest analysis for Comcast

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. Fortunately Comcast's payout ratio is modest, at just 32% of profit. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 29% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.

It's positive to see that Comcast's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

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

historic-dividend
historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. 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, Comcast's earnings per share have been growing at 12% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing rapidly and the company is retaining a majority of its earnings within the business. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the past 10 years, Comcast has increased its dividend at approximately 17% a year on average. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.

The Bottom Line

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Comcast? We love that Comcast is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. These characteristics suggest the company is reinvesting in growing its business, while the conservative payout ratio also implies a reduced risk of the dividend being cut in the future. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.

So while Comcast looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Comcast you should be aware of.

Generally, we wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see. Here's a curated list of interesting stocks that are strong dividend payers.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.