Nasdaq-Listed Companies

Should You Buy Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ:TSCO) For Its Upcoming Dividend?

Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ:TSCO) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 4 days. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the 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. Therefore, if you purchase Tractor Supply's shares on or after the 17th of February, you won't be eligible to receive the dividend, when it is paid on the 8th of March.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.92 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$3.68 per share. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Tractor Supply stock has a trailing yield of around 1.7% on the current share price of $219.44. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Tractor Supply's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to investigate whether Tractor Supply can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Tractor Supply is paying out just 24% of its profit after tax, which is comfortably low and leaves plenty of breathing room in the case of adverse events. 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. Fortunately, it paid out only 47% of its free cash flow in the past 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.

Click here to see the company's payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

historic-dividend
NasdaqGS:TSCO Historic Dividend February 12th 2022

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 decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. That's why it's comforting to see Tractor Supply's earnings have been skyrocketing, up 22% per annum for the past five years. Tractor Supply is paying out less than half its earnings and cash flow, while simultaneously growing earnings per share at a rapid clip. This is a very favourable combination that can often lead to the dividend multiplying over the long term, if earnings grow and the company pays out a higher percentage of its earnings.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. Since the start of our data, 10 years ago, Tractor Supply has lifted its dividend by approximately 31% a year on average. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.

Final Takeaway

Is Tractor Supply an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Tractor Supply 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. Tractor Supply looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.

On that note, you'll want to research what risks Tractor Supply is facing. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 1 warning sign with Tractor Supply and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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