We Wouldn't Be Too Quick To Buy Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend (2024)

editorial-team@simplywallst.com (Simply Wall St)

·4-min read

Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next four days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company's record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled 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. Meaning, you will need to purchase Verizon Communications' shares before the 10th of July to receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 1st of August.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.665 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$2.66 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, Verizon Communications stock has a trailing yield of around 6.5% on the current share price of US$41.12. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it's also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn't going to kill our golden goose! So we need to investigate whether Verizon Communications can afford its dividend, and if the dividend could grow.

See 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 profits as dividends to shareholders, suggesting the dividend is not well covered by earnings. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. 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.

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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 this were to happen repeatedly, we'd be concerned about whether the dividend is sustainable in a downturn.

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

We Wouldn't Be Too Quick To Buy Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend (1)

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. If earnings decline and the company is forced to cut its dividend, investors could watch the value of their investment go up in smoke. With that in mind, we're discomforted by Verizon Communications's 6.5% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. Such a sharp decline casts doubt on the future sustainability of the dividend.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. In the last 10 years, Verizon Communications has lifted its dividend by approximately 2.3% a year on average. That's intriguing, but the combination of growing dividends despite declining earnings can typically only be achieved by paying out a larger percentage of profits. 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.

Final Takeaway

Has Verizon Communications got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Earnings per share have been shrinking in recent times. Additionally, Verizon Communications is paying out quite a high percentage of its earnings, and more than half its cash flow, so it's hard to evaluate whether the company is reinvesting enough in its business to improve its situation. Overall it doesn't look like the most suitable dividend stock for a long-term buy and hold investor.

With that being said, if you're still considering Verizon Communications as an investment, you'll find it beneficial to know what risks this stock is facing. In terms of investment risks, we've identified 4 warning signs with Verizon Communications and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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

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.

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

We Wouldn't Be Too Quick To Buy Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend (2024)
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