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Why It Might Not Make Sense To Buy Range Resources Corporation (NYSE:RRC) For Its Upcoming Dividend

Simply Wall St

It looks like Range Resources Corporation (NYSE:RRC) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 12th of September, you won't be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 30th of September.

Range Resources's next dividend payment will be US$0.02 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$0.08 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Range Resources has a trailing yield of approximately 2.0% on its current stock price of $3.93. 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Range Resources

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. Range Resources's dividend is not well covered by earnings, as the company lost money last year. This is not a sustainable state of affairs, so it would be worth investigating if earnings are expected to recover. With the recent loss, it's important to check if the business generated enough cash to pay its dividend. If Range Resources didn't generate enough cash to pay the dividend, then it must have either paid from cash in the bank or by borrowing money, neither of which is sustainable in the long term. It distributed 25% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.

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

NYSE:RRC Historical Dividend Yield, September 7th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Range Resources was unprofitable last year and, unfortunately, the general trend suggests its earnings have been in decline over the last 5 years, making us wonder if the dividend is sustainable at all.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Range Resources has seen its dividend decline 6.7% per annum on average over the past 10 years, which is not great to see. It's never nice to see earnings and dividends falling, but at least management has cut the dividend rather than potentially risk the company's health in an attempt to maintain it.

Get our latest analysis on Range Resources's balance sheet health here.

To Sum It Up

Is Range Resources worth buying for its dividend? It's hard to get used to Range Resources paying a dividend despite reporting a loss over the past year. At least the dividend was covered by free cash flow, however. Overall it doesn't look like the most suitable dividend stock for a long-term buy and hold investor.

Curious what other investors think of Range Resources? See what analysts are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow .

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.

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.