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It looks like Shoe Carnival, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCVL) is about to go 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. 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. Thus, you can purchase Shoe Carnival's shares before the 7th of January in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 24th of January.
The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.07 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$0.28 per share to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Shoe Carnival has a trailing yield of approximately 0.7% on its current stock price of $39.08. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Shoe Carnival's dividend is reliable and sustainable. 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. Shoe Carnival paid out just 5.1% of its profit last year, which we think is conservatively low and leaves plenty of margin for unexpected circumstances. A useful secondary check can be to evaluate whether Shoe Carnival generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. It paid out 4.5% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.
It's positive to see that Shoe Carnival'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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. It's encouraging to see Shoe Carnival has grown its earnings rapidly, up 47% a year for the past five years. Shoe Carnival looks like a real growth company, with earnings per share growing at a cracking pace and the company reinvesting most of its profits in the business.
Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Shoe Carnival has delivered an average of 11% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past 10 years of dividend payments. Both per-share earnings and dividends have both been growing rapidly in recent times, which is great to see.
The Bottom Line
Is Shoe Carnival worth buying for its dividend? Shoe Carnival 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. Overall we think this is an attractive combination and worthy of further research.
Want to learn more about Shoe Carnival's dividend performance? Check out this visualisation of its historical revenue and earnings growth.
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.
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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.