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We Wouldn't Be Too Quick To Buy Park Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE:PK) Before It Goes Ex-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 Park Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE:PK) is about to go ex-dividend in just 3 days. This means that investors who purchase shares on or after the 27th of September will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of October.

Park Hotels & Resorts's next dividend payment will be US$0.5 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$2.0 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Park Hotels & Resorts has a trailing yield of 7.7% on the current share price of $26. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Park Hotels & Resorts's dividend is reliable and sustainable. 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 Park Hotels & Resorts

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. Its dividend payout ratio is 86% 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 It could become a concern if earnings started to decline. That said, REITs are often required by law to distribute all of their earnings, and it's not unusual to see a REIT with a payout ratio around 100%. We wouldn't read too much into this. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Park Hotels & Resorts generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. It paid out 85% of its free cash flow as dividends, which is within usual limits but will limit the company's ability to lift the dividend if there's no growth.

It's positive to see that Park Hotels & Resorts'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.

NYSE:PK Historical Dividend Yield, September 23rd 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks with flat earnings can still be attractive dividend payers, but it is important to be more conservative with your approach and demand a greater margin for safety when it comes to dividend sustainability. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. That explains why we're not overly excited about Park Hotels & Resorts's flat earnings over the past five years. We'd take that over an earnings decline any day, but in the long run, the best dividend stocks all grow their earnings per share.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the last three years, Park Hotels & Resorts has lifted its dividend by approximately 5.0% a year on average.

Final Takeaway

Is Park Hotels & Resorts worth buying for its dividend? While earnings per share are flat, at least Park Hotels & Resorts has not committed itself to an unsustainable dividend, with its earnings and cashflow payout ratios within reasonable bounds. Bottom line: Park Hotels & Resorts has some unfortunate characteristics that we think could lead to sub-optimal outcomes for dividend investors.

Wondering what the future holds for Park Hotels & Resorts? See what the nine analysts we track 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.