It looks like Kohl's Corporation (NYSE:KSS) is about to go ex-dividend in the next four days. You can purchase shares before the 16th of March in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 31st of March.
Kohl's's next dividend payment will be US$0.25 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$1.00 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Kohl's stock has a trailing yield of around 1.7% on the current share price of $57.24. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Kohl's paid a dividend last year despite being unprofitable. This might be a one-off event, but it's not a sustainable state of affairs in the long run. Given that the company reported a loss last year, we now need to see if it generated enough free cash flow to fund the dividend. If cash earnings don't cover the dividend, the company would have to pay dividends out of cash in the bank, or by borrowing money, neither of which is long-term sustainable. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 11% of its cash flow last year.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. Kohl's was unprofitable last year and, unfortunately, the general trend suggests its earnings have been in decline over the last five years, making us wonder if the dividend is sustainable at all.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Kohl's's dividend payments are effectively flat on where they were 10 years ago. When earnings are declining yet the dividends are flat, typically the company is either paying out a higher portion of its earnings, or paying out of cash or debt on the balance sheet, neither of which is ideal.
To Sum It Up
Has Kohl's got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? First, it's not great to see the company paying a dividend despite being loss-making over the last year. On the plus side, the dividend was covered by free cash flow." Bottom line: Kohl's has some unfortunate characteristics that we think could lead to sub-optimal outcomes for dividend investors.
Although, if you're still interested in Kohl's and want to know more, you'll find it very useful to know what risks this stock faces. For example - Kohl's has 3 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.
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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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