It looks like Persimmon Plc (LON:PSN) is about to go ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the dividend. The ex-dividend date is of consequence because whenever a stock is bought or sold, the trade takes at least two business day to settle. Meaning, you will need to purchase Persimmon's shares before the 22nd of July to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 13th of August.
The company's next dividend payment will be UK£1.10 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of UK£2.35 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that Persimmon has a trailing yield of 8.0% on the current share price of £29.52. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Persimmon distributed an unsustainably high 117% of its profit as dividends to shareholders last year. Without more sustainable payment behaviour, the dividend looks precarious.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. With that in mind, we're encouraged by the steady growth at Persimmon, with earnings per share up 3.3% on average over the last five years.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Persimmon has delivered 44% dividend growth per year on average over the past 10 years. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.
Is Persimmon an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? While we like that its earnings are growing somewhat, we're not enamored that it's paying out 117% of last year's earnings. We think there are likely better opportunities out there.
If you're not too concerned about Persimmon's ability to pay dividends, you should still be mindful of some of the other risks that this business faces. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Persimmon you should be aware of.
If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top 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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