Is Dime Community Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:DCOM) A Smart Pick For Income Investors?

Dividend paying stocks like Dime Community Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:DCOM) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason – some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company’s dividend doesn’t live up to expectations.

A slim 2.7% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Dime Community Bancshares could have potential. During the year, the company also conducted a buyback equivalent to around 2.3% of its market capitalisation. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we’ll go through this below.

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NasdaqGS:DCOM Historical Dividend Yield, December 15th 2019
NasdaqGS:DCOM Historical Dividend Yield, December 15th 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company’s net income after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 48% of Dime Community Bancshares’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Dime Community Bancshares’s latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well – nasty. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Dime Community Bancshares’s dividend payments. During this period the dividend has been stable, which could imply the business could have relatively consistent earnings power. Its most recent annual dividend was US$0.56 per share, effectively flat on its first payment ten years ago.

Dividend Growth Potential

Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. Dime Community Bancshares’s earnings per share have been essentially flat over the past five years. Flat earnings per share are acceptable for a time, but over the long term, the purchasing power of the company’s dividends could be eroded by inflation.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Dime Community Bancshares’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We’re glad to see Dime Community Bancshares has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. Second, earnings per share have actually shrunk, but at least the dividends have been relatively stable. Dime Community Bancshares might not be a bad business, but it doesn’t show all of the characteristics we look for in a dividend stock.

Given that earnings are not growing, the dividend does not look nearly so attractive. Very few businesses see earnings consistently shrink year after year in perpetuity though, and so it might be worth seeing what the 3 analysts we track are forecasting for the future.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

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.

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