MyState Limited (ASX:MYS) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. If you purchase the stock on or after the 29th of August, you won’t be eligible to receive this dividend, when it is paid on the 1st of October.
MyState’s next dividend payment will be AU$0.14 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of AU$0.29 to shareholders. Calculating the last year’s worth of payments shows that MyState has a trailing yield of 6.1% on the current share price of A$4.7. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it’s growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. It paid out 88% of its earnings as dividends last year, which is not unreasonable, but limits reinvestment in the business and leaves the dividend vulnerable to a business downturn. We’d be concerned if earnings began to decline.
Companies that pay out less in dividends than they earn in profits generally have more sustainable dividends. The lower the payout ratio, the more wiggle room the business has before it could be forced to cut the dividend.
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. It’s not encouraging to see that MyState’s earnings are effectively flat over the past five years. It’s better than seeing them drop, certainly, but over the long term, all of the best dividend stocks are able to meaningfully grow their earnings per share.
Another key way to measure a company’s dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the past 10 years, MyState has increased its dividend at approximately 11% a year on average.
The Bottom Line
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid MyState? Earnings per share have not grown at all, and the company pays out a bit over half its profits to shareholders. MyState doesn’t appear to have a lot going for it, and we’re not inclined to take a risk on owning it for the dividend.
Curious what other investors think of MyState? See what analysts are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow .
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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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.