ITT Inc. (NYSE:ITT) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in three days. Typically, the ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date which is the date on which a company determines the shareholders eligible to receive a dividend. 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. This means that investors who purchase ITT's shares on or after the 30th of November will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 30th of December.
The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.26 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$1.06 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that ITT has a trailing yield of 1.2% on the current share price of $84.58. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it's growing.
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. ITT paid out just 24% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. Yet cash flow is typically more important than profit for assessing dividend sustainability, so we should always check if the company generated enough cash to afford its dividend. Dividends consumed 68% of the company's free cash flow last year, which is within a normal range for most dividend-paying organisations.
It's positive to see that ITT'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 business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. For this reason, we're glad to see ITT's earnings per share have risen 16% per annum over the last five years. ITT has an average payout ratio which suggests a balance between growing earnings and rewarding shareholders. This is a reasonable combination that could hint at some further dividend increases in the future.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the past 10 years, ITT has increased its dividend at approximately 11% a year on average. It's exciting to see that both earnings and dividends per share have grown rapidly over the past few years.
Is ITT worth buying for its dividend? From a dividend perspective, we're encouraged to see that earnings per share have been growing, the company is paying out less than half of its earnings, and a bit over half its free cash flow. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.
So while ITT looks good from a dividend perspective, it's always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. For example - ITT has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
If you're in the market for strong dividend payers, we recommend checking our selection of top dividend stocks.
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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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