Is The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) A Smart Pick For Income Investors?

A sizeable part of portfolio returns can be produced by dividend stocks due to their contribution to compounding returns in the long run. Historically, The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) has been paying a dividend to shareholders. Today it yields 3.5%. Does Coca-Cola tick all the boxes of a great dividend stock? Below, I’ll take you through my analysis.

Check out our latest analysis for Coca-Cola

Here’s how I find good dividend stocks

When researching a dividend stock, I always follow the following screening criteria:

  • Is it paying an annual yield above 75% of dividend payers?
  • Has its dividend been stable over the past (i.e. no missed payments or significant payout cuts)?
  • Has it increased its dividend per share amount over the past?
  • Can it afford to pay the current rate of dividends from its earnings?
  • Based on future earnings growth, will it be able to continue to payout dividend at the current rate?
NYSE:KO Historical Dividend Yield, March 26th 2019
NYSE:KO Historical Dividend Yield, March 26th 2019

Does Coca-Cola pass our checks?

The company currently pays out 99% of its earnings as a dividend, according to its trailing twelve-month data, which means that the dividend is not well-covered by its earnings. In the near future, analysts are predicting a more sensible payout ratio of 76%, which, assuming the share price stays the same, leads to a dividend yield of 3.8%. Moreover, EPS should increase to $2.09, meaning that the lower payout ratio does not necessarily implicate a lower dividend payment.

If you want to dive deeper into the sustainability of a certain payout ratio, you may wish to consider the cash flow of the business. Companies with strong cash flow can sustain a higher payout ratio, while companies with weaker cash flow generally cannot.

If there’s one type of stock you want to be reliable, it’s dividend stocks and their stable income-generating ability. KO has increased its DPS from $0.82 to $1.6 in the past 10 years. During this period it has not missed a payment, as one would expect for a company increasing its dividend. This is an impressive feat, which makes KO a true dividend rockstar.

Relative to peers, Coca-Cola produces a yield of 3.5%, which is high for Beverage stocks but still below the market’s top dividend payers.

Next Steps:

With this in mind, I definitely rank Coca-Cola as a strong dividend stock, and makes it worth further research for anyone who likes steady income generation from their portfolio. Given that this is purely a dividend analysis, I urge potential investors to try and get a good understanding of the underlying business and its fundamentals before deciding on an investment. Below, I’ve compiled three pertinent aspects you should further examine:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for KO’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for KO’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is KO worth today? Even if the stock is a cash cow, it’s not worth an infinite price. The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether KO is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other Dividend Rockstars: Are there better dividend payers with stronger fundamentals out there? Check out our free list of these great stocks here.

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.