Readers hoping to buy Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. (NYSE:KNX) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company's record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled to receive a dividend. The ex-dividend date is important because any transaction on a stock needs to have been settled before the record date in order to be eligible for a dividend. This means that investors who purchase Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings' shares on or after the 3rd of June will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 28th of June.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.10 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.40 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings stock has a trailing yield of around 0.8% on the current share price of $47.73. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. So we need to investigate whether Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.
Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings has a low and conservative payout ratio of just 11% of its income after tax. That said, even highly profitable companies sometimes might not generate enough cash to pay the dividend, which is why we should always check if the dividend is covered by cash flow. It paid out 9.9% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.
It's positive to see that Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings'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 Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings's earnings per share have risen 14% 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. Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings has delivered an average of 5.2% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. It's good to see both earnings and the dividend have improved - although the former has been rising much quicker than the latter, possibly due to the company reinvesting more of its profits in growth.
From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings? Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings has grown its earnings per share while simultaneously reinvesting in the business. Unfortunately it's cut the dividend at least once in the past 10 years, but the conservative payout ratio makes the current dividend look sustainable. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.
In light of that, while Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings has an appealing dividend, it's worth knowing the risks involved with this stock. To help with this, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings that you should be aware of before investing in their shares.
If you're in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top 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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