Investors who want to cash in on Amerisafe, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMSF) upcoming dividend of US$0.25 per share have only 3 days left to buy the shares before its ex-dividend date, 07 March 2019, in time for dividends payable on the 22 March 2019. Investors looking for higher income-generating stocks to add to their portfolio should keep reading, as I examine Amerisafe’s latest financial data to analyse its dividend characteristics.
5 checks you should use to assess a dividend stock
When assessing a stock as a potential addition to my dividend Portfolio, I look at these five areas:
- Is its annual yield among the top 25% of dividend-paying companies?
- Has it consistently paid a stable dividend without missing a payment or drastically cutting payout?
- Has dividend per share amount increased over the past?
- Can it afford to pay the current rate of dividends from its earnings?
- Will it be able to continue to payout at the current rate in the future?
Does Amerisafe pass our checks?
The company currently pays out 24% of its earnings as a dividend, according to its trailing twelve-month data, which means that the dividend is covered by earnings. In the near future, analysts are predicting a higher payout ratio of 122% which, assuming the share price stays the same, leads to a dividend yield of around 4.8%. However, EPS is forecasted to fall to $3.35 in the upcoming year. Therefore, although payout is expected to increase, the fall in earnings may not equate to higher dividend income. This also brings about uncertainty around the sustainability of the payout ratio.
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.
Reliablity is an important factor for dividend stocks, particularly for income investors who want a strong track record of payment and a positive outlook for future payout. The reality is that it is too early to consider Amerisafe as a dividend investment. It has only been consistently paying dividends for 6 years, however, standard practice for reliable payers is to look for a 10-year minimum track record.
Relative to peers, Amerisafe generates a yield of 7.2%, which is high for Insurance stocks.
If you are building an income portfolio, then Amerisafe is a complicated choice since it has some positive aspects as well as negative ones. However, if you are not strictly just a dividend investor, the stock could still offer some interesting investment opportunities. 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. There are three relevant factors you should further examine:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for AMSF’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for AMSF’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is AMSF 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 AMSF is currently mispriced by the market.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.