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 ITT Inc. (NYSE:ITT) is about to go ex-dividend in just 4 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 10th of September, you won’t be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 5th of October.
ITT’s upcoming dividend is US$0.17 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.68 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year’s worth of payments, ITT stock has a trailing yield of around 1.1% on the current share price of $62.96. 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 ITT 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. ITT paid out just 18% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. 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. The good news is it paid out just 11% of its free cash flow in the last year.
It’s positive to see that ITT’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.
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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Fortunately for readers, ITT’s earnings per share have been growing at 12% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share are growing rapidly and the company is keeping more than half of its earnings within the business; an attractive combination which could suggest the company is focused on reinvesting to grow earnings further. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.
Another key way to measure a company’s dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. ITT’s dividend payments per share have declined at 8.8% per year on average over the past 10 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.
Has ITT got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? ITT has grown its earnings per share while simultaneously reinvesting in the business. Unfortunately it’s cut the dividend at least once in the past 10 years, but the conservative payout ratio makes the current dividend look sustainable. It’s a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. Our analysis shows 1 warning sign for ITT and you should be aware of it before buying any shares.
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.
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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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