Selective Insurance Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:SIGI) Has Got What It Takes To Be An Attractive Dividend Stock

Dividend paying stocks like Selective Insurance Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:SIGI) 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 1.1% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Selective Insurance Group could have potential. 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:SIGI Historical Dividend Yield, August 1st 2019
NasdaqGS:SIGI Historical Dividend Yield, August 1st 2019

Payout ratios

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company’s net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Selective Insurance Group paid out 20% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. With a low payout ratio, it looks like the dividend is comprehensively covered by earnings.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. Selective Insurance Group has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. During this period the dividend has been stable, which could imply the business could have relatively consistent earnings power. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.52 in 2009, compared to US$0.80 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 4.4% a year over that time.

Slow and steady dividend growth might not sound that exciting, but dividends have been stable for ten years, which we think is seriously impressive.

Dividend Growth Potential

While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend’s purchasing power over the long term. It’s good to see Selective Insurance Group has been growing its earnings per share at 14% a year over the past 5 years. Earnings per share are growing at a solid clip, and the payout ratio is low. We think this is an ideal combination in a dividend stock.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Selective Insurance Group’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Firstly, we like that Selective Insurance Group has a low and conservative payout ratio. Second, it has a limited history of earnings per share growth, but at least the dividends have been relatively stable. Overall, we think there are a lot of positives to Selective Insurance Group from a dividend perspective.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 7 Selective Insurance Group analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.

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.