Read This Before Buying The National Security Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NSEC) For Its Dividend

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 11, 2020
NasdaqGM:NSEC

Could The National Security Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NSEC) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

A slim 2.0% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, National Security Group could have potential. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying National Security Group for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

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NasdaqGM:NSEC Historic Dividend December 11th 2020

Payout ratios

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Although National Security Group pays a dividend, it was loss-making during the past year. When a loss-making financial company pays a dividend, the dividend is not being paid out of profit, which is a concern if the company can't return to operating profitably.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of National Security Group's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. National Security Group has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. Its dividend payments have declined on at least one occasion over the past 10 years. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.6 in 2010, compared to US$0.2 last year. The dividend has shrunk at around 8.8% a year during that period. National Security Group's dividend hasn't shrunk linearly at 8.8% per annum, but the CAGR is a useful estimate of the historical rate of change.

A shrinking dividend over a 10-year period is not ideal, and we'd be concerned about investing in a dividend stock that lacks a solid record of growing dividends per share.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, and a poor history of shrinking dividends, it's even more important to see if EPS are growing. Over the past five years, it looks as though National Security Group's EPS have declined at around 43% a year. A sharp decline in earnings per share is not great from from a dividend perspective, as even conservative payout ratios can come under pressure if earnings fall far enough.

Conclusion

Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company's dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. First, it's not great to see a dividend being paid despite the company being unprofitable over the last year. Second, earnings per share have been in decline, and its dividend has been cut at least once in the past. Using these criteria, National Security Group looks suboptimal from a dividend investment perspective.

Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. Still, investors need to consider a host of other factors, apart from dividend payments, when analysing a company. Case in point: We've spotted 3 warning signs for National Security Group (of which 1 is concerning!) you should know about.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.

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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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