Dividend Investors: Don't Be Too Quick To Buy Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) For Its Upcoming Dividend (2024)

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is about to trade 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 an important date to be aware of as any purchase of the stock made on or after this date might mean a late settlement that doesn't show on the record date. Accordingly, Verizon Communications investors that purchase the stock on or after the 10th of July will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 1st of August.

The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.665 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$2.66 per share to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Verizon Communications has a trailing yield of 6.5% on the current stock price of US$41.12. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. So we need to investigate whether Verizon Communications can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

Check out our latest analysis for Verizon Communications

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Last year, Verizon Communications paid out 99% of its income as dividends, which is above a level that we're comfortable with, especially if the company needs to reinvest in its business. 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. It paid out 82% of its free cash flow as dividends, which is within usual limits but will limit the company's ability to lift the dividend if there's no growth.

It's good to see that while Verizon Communications's dividends were not well covered by profits, at least they are affordable from a cash perspective. Still, if the company continues paying out such a high percentage of its profits, the dividend could be at risk if business turns sour.

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

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with falling earnings are riskier for dividend shareholders. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Verizon Communications's earnings per share have fallen at approximately 6.5% a year over the previous five years. When earnings per share fall, the maximum amount of dividends that can be paid also falls.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 10 years, Verizon Communications has lifted its dividend by approximately 2.3% a year on average. The only way to pay higher dividends when earnings are shrinking is either to pay out a larger percentage of profits, spend cash from the balance sheet, or borrow the money. Verizon Communications is already paying out 99% of its profits, and with shrinking earnings we think it's unlikely that this dividend will grow quickly in the future.

To Sum It Up

Should investors buy Verizon Communications for the upcoming dividend? It's never fun to see a company's earnings per share in retreat. What's more, Verizon Communications is paying out a majority of its earnings and over half its free cash flow. It's hard to say if the business has the financial resources and time to turn things around without cutting the dividend. It's not an attractive combination from a dividend perspective, and we're inclined to pass on this one for the time being.

With that in mind though, if the poor dividend characteristics of Verizon Communications don't faze you, it's worth being mindful of the risks involved with this business. Case in point: We've spotted 4 warning signs for Verizon Communications you should be aware of.

If you're in the market for strong dividend payers, we recommend checking our selection of top dividend stocks.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Verizon Communications is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Verizon Communications is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

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

Dividend Investors: Don't Be Too Quick To Buy Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) For Its Upcoming Dividend (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nicola Considine CPA

Last Updated:

Views: 5577

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nicola Considine CPA

Birthday: 1993-02-26

Address: 3809 Clinton Inlet, East Aleisha, UT 46318-2392

Phone: +2681424145499

Job: Government Technician

Hobby: Calligraphy, Lego building, Worldbuilding, Shooting, Bird watching, Shopping, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Nicola Considine CPA, I am a determined, witty, powerful, brainy, open, smiling, proud person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.