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Why You Might Be Interested In Leidos Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:LDOS) For Its Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that Leidos Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:LDOS) is about to go ex-dividend in just 4 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 13th of September, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 30th of September.

Leidos Holdings's next dividend payment will be US$0.34 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$1.28 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Leidos Holdings has a trailing yield of 1.5% on the current stock price of $87.62. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Leidos Holdings's dividend is reliable and sustainable. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.

See our latest analysis for Leidos Holdings

Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. That's why it's good to see Leidos Holdings paying out a modest 29% of its earnings. 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. It paid out 23% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.

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.

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

NYSE:LDOS Historical Dividend Yield, September 8th 2019

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. It's encouraging to see Leidos Holdings has grown its earnings rapidly, up 36% a year for the past five years. Leidos Holdings is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow, while simultaneously growing earnings per share at a rapid clip. Companies with growing earnings and low payout ratios are often the best long-term dividend stocks, as the company can both grow its earnings and increase the percentage of earnings that it pays out, essentially multiplying the dividend.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Leidos Holdings's dividend payments per share have declined at 5.6% per year on average over the past 7 years, which is uninspiring. It's unusual to see earnings per share increasing at the same time as dividends per share have been in decline. We'd hope it's because the company is reinvesting heavily in its business, but it could also suggest business is lumpy.

Final Takeaway

Has Leidos Holdings got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? It's great that Leidos Holdings is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. It's disappointing to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, but as things stand now, the low payout ratio suggests a conservative approach to dividends, which we like. There's a lot to like about Leidos Holdings, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.

Curious what other investors think of Leidos Holdings? 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.

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.