NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date, which is the cut-off date for shareholders to be present on the company's books to be eligible for a dividend payment. The ex-dividend date is an important date to be aware of as any purchase of the stock made on or after this date might mean a late settlement that doesn't show on the record date. Accordingly, NIKE investors that purchase the stock on or after the 3rd of December will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 28th of December.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.30 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.10 per share. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, NIKE has a trailing yield of approximately 0.7% on its current stock price of $168.02. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether NIKE's dividend is reliable and sustainable. 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. NIKE paid out a comfortable 29% of its profit last year. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. It distributed 27% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
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. For this reason, we're glad to see NIKE's earnings per share have risen 12% per annum over the last 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.
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, NIKE has increased its dividend at approximately 15% a year on average. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.
The Bottom Line
Is NIKE an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? We love that NIKE is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. These characteristics suggest the company is reinvesting in growing its business, while the conservative payout ratio also implies a reduced risk of the dividend being cut in the future. There's a lot to like about NIKE, and we would prioritise taking a closer look at it.
Curious what other investors think of NIKE? 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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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