Provident Financial Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:PROV) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next three days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. Thus, you can purchase Provident Financial Holdings' shares before the 17th of May in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 8th of June.
The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.14 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.56 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Provident Financial Holdings stock has a trailing yield of around 3.5% on the current share price of $16.08. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
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. Provident Financial Holdings is paying out an acceptable 72% of its profit, a common payout level among most companies.
Generally speaking, the lower a company's payout ratios, the more resilient its dividend usually is.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. With that in mind, we're discomforted by Provident Financial Holdings's 6.5% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. Ultimately, when earnings per share decline, the size of the pie from which dividends can be paid, shrinks.
The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the past 10 years, Provident Financial Holdings has increased its dividend at approximately 30% a year on average. Growing the dividend payout ratio while earnings are declining can deliver nice returns for a while, but it's always worth checking for when the company can't increase the payout ratio any more - because then the music stops.
To Sum It Up
Has Provident Financial Holdings got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? We're not overly enthused to see Provident Financial Holdings's earnings in retreat at the same time as the company is paying out more than half of its earnings as dividends to shareholders. These characteristics don't generally lead to outstanding dividend performance, and investors may not be happy with the results of owning this stock for its dividend.
With that in mind though, if the poor dividend characteristics of Provident Financial Holdings don't faze you, it's worth being mindful of the risks involved with this business. For example - Provident Financial Holdings has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
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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