Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company's books in order to receive a dividend. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. This means that investors who purchase Costco Wholesale's shares on or after the 29th of July will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 13th of August.
The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.79 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$3.16 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Costco Wholesale has a trailing yield of 0.7% on the current stock price of $423.43. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. As a result, readers should always check whether Costco Wholesale has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. That's why it's good to see Costco Wholesale paying out a modest 27% of its earnings. 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. What's good is that dividends were well covered by free cash flow, with the company paying out 18% of its cash flow last year.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Businesses with strong growth prospects usually make the best dividend payers, because it's easier to grow dividends when earnings per share are improving. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Fortunately for readers, Costco Wholesale's earnings per share have been growing at 15% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing rapidly and the company is retaining a majority of its earnings within the business. This will make it easier to fund future growth efforts and we think this is an attractive combination - plus the dividend can always be increased later.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Costco Wholesale has delivered an average of 14% 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.
To Sum It Up
Is Costco Wholesale an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Costco Wholesale 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. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
On that note, you'll want to research what risks Costco Wholesale is facing. Our analysis shows 2 warning signs for Costco Wholesale and you should be aware of them before buying any shares.
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. 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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.
In This StoryCOST
Latest Nasdaq-Listed Companies Videos
- Trade Alert: The President Of United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL), Brett Hart, Has Sold Some Shares Recently
- Vaxart, Inc. (NASDAQ:VXRT) Is Expected To Breakeven In The Near Future
- A MiMedx Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDXG) insider lowered their holding by 11% earlier this year
- Investors push CrowdStrike Holdings (NASDAQ:CRWD) 5.8% lower this week, company's increasing losses might be to blame