Exponent, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPO) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. You can purchase shares before the 5th of September in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 20th of September.
Exponent's next dividend payment will be US$0.16 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.64 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Exponent has a trailing yield of 0.9% on the current share price of $70.89. 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. That's why it's good to see Exponent paying out a modest 40% of its earnings. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. Thankfully its dividend payments took up just 45% of the free cash flow it generated, which is a comfortable payout ratio.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. For this reason, we're glad to see Exponent's earnings per share have risen 16% per annum over the last five years. The company has managed to grow earnings at a rapid rate, while reinvesting most of the profits 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.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Exponent has delivered an average of 23% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 7 years of dividend payments. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.
To Sum It Up
Is Exponent an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? We love that Exponent 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. Exponent looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.
Curious what other investors think of Exponent? See what analysts are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow .
We wouldn't recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here's a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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