CSX Corporation (NASDAQ:CSX) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four 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 important as the process of settlement involves two full business days. So if you miss that date, you would not show up on the company's books on the record date. Meaning, you will need to purchase CSX's shares before the 29th of November to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 15th of December.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.093 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.37 to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that CSX has a trailing yield of 1.0% on the current share price of $36.48. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! 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. CSX paid out just 23% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. 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 25% of its free cash flow as dividends, a comfortable payout level for most companies.
It's positive to see that CSX's dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.
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 decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. For this reason, we're glad to see CSX's earnings per share have risen 20% per annum over the last five years. Earnings per share have been growing rapidly and the company is retaining a majority of its earnings within the business. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. CSX has delivered an average of 12% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.
Is CSX worth buying for its dividend? CSX has been growing earnings at a rapid rate, and has a conservatively low payout ratio, implying that it is reinvesting heavily in its business; a sterling combination. CSX looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.
With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for CSX you should be aware of.
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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