Readers hoping to buy Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:SASR) for its dividend will need to make their move shortly, as the stock is about to trade ex-dividend. You can purchase shares before the 11th of August in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 19th of August.
Sandy Spring Bancorp's upcoming dividend is US$0.30 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$1.20 per share to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Sandy Spring Bancorp has a trailing yield of approximately 5.2% on its current stock price of $23.2. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Sandy Spring Bancorp's dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. It paid out 85% of its earnings as dividends last year, which is not unreasonable, but limits reinvestment in the business and leaves the dividend vulnerable to a business downturn. We'd be concerned if earnings began to decline.
Generally speaking, the lower a company's payout ratios, the more resilient its dividend usually is.
Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?
Companies that aren't growing their earnings can still be valuable, but it is even more important to assess the sustainability of the dividend if it looks like the company will struggle to grow. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. That explains why we're not overly excited about Sandy Spring Bancorp's flat earnings over the past five years. We'd take that over an earnings decline any day, but in the long run, the best dividend stocks all grow their earnings per share.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. In the past 10 years, Sandy Spring Bancorp has increased its dividend at approximately 9.6% a year on average.
To Sum It Up
Is Sandy Spring Bancorp an attractive dividend stock, or better left on the shelf? Earnings per share have not grown at all, and the company pays out a bit over half its profits to shareholders. This is not an overtly appealing combination of characteristics, and we're just not that interested in this company's dividend.
Having said that, if you're looking at this stock without much concern for the dividend, you should still be familiar of the risks involved with Sandy Spring Bancorp. To help with this, we've discovered 5 warning signs for Sandy Spring Bancorp 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.
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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