Citizens Holding Company (NASDAQ:CIZN) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in four days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 15th of September, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 30th of September.
Citizens Holding's next dividend payment will be US$0.24 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.96 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Citizens Holding has a trailing yield of 4.6% on the current share price of $21.01. 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 Citizens Holding can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.
Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. Its dividend payout ratio is 88% of profit, which means the company is paying out a majority of its earnings. The relatively limited profit reinvestment could slow the rate of future earnings growth. We'd be worried about the risk of a drop in earnings.
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.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. With that in mind, we're discomforted by Citizens Holding's 6.4% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. Ultimately, when earnings per share decline, the size of the pie from which dividends can be paid, shrinks.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the past 10 years, Citizens Holding has increased its dividend at approximately 1.3% a year on average.
The Bottom Line
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Citizens Holding? We're not overly enthused to see Citizens Holding's earnings in retreat at the same time as the company is paying out more than half of its earnings as dividends to shareholders. All things considered, we're not optimistic about its dividend prospects, and would be inclined to leave it on the shelf for now.
Although, if you're still interested in Citizens Holding and want to know more, you'll find it very useful to know what risks this stock faces. Every company has risks, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Citizens Holding (of which 1 can't be ignored!) you should know about.
A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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. 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.
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