Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) has announced that it will pay a dividend of $0.32 per share on the 25th of October. Based on this payment, the dividend yield on the company's stock will be 2.1%, which is an attractive boost to shareholder returns.
Oracle's Payment Has Solid Earnings Coverage
We like to see robust dividend yields, but that doesn't matter if the payment isn't sustainable. Prior to this announcement, Oracle's dividend was comfortably covered by both cash flow and earnings. This indicates that quite a large proportion of earnings is being invested back into the business.
Looking forward, earnings per share is forecast to rise by 155.2% over the next year. If the dividend continues on this path, the payout ratio could be 26% by next year, which we think can be pretty sustainable going forward.
Oracle Has A Solid Track Record
Even over a long history of paying dividends, the company's distributions have been remarkably stable. Since 2012, the dividend has gone from $0.24 total annually to $1.28. This means that it has been growing its distributions at 18% per annum over that time. We can see that payments have shown some very nice upward momentum without faltering, which provides some reassurance that future payments will also be reliable.
Dividend Growth May Be Hard To Achieve
Some investors will be chomping at the bit to buy some of the company's stock based on its dividend history. Let's not jump to conclusions as things might not be as good as they appear on the surface. Unfortunately, Oracle's earnings per share has been essentially flat over the past five years, which means the dividend may not be increased each year.
Our Thoughts On Oracle's Dividend
Overall, we think Oracle is a solid choice as a dividend stock, even though the dividend wasn't raised this year. While the payments look sustainable for now, earnings have been shrinking so the dividend could come under pressure in the future. Taking all of this into consideration, the dividend looks viable moving forward, but investors should be mindful that the company has pushed the boundaries of sustainability in the past and may do so again.
Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. Meanwhile, despite the importance of dividend payments, they are not the only factors our readers should know when assessing a company. To that end, Oracle has 4 warning signs (and 2 which shouldn't be ignored) we think you should know about. Is Oracle not quite the opportunity you were looking for? Why not check out 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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