Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (NASDAQ:CTSH) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 4 days. The ex-dividend date is usually set to be one business day before the record date which is the cut-off date on which you must be present on the company's books as a shareholder in order to receive the dividend. It is important to be aware of the ex-dividend date because any trade on the stock needs to have been settled on or before the record date. Accordingly, Cognizant Technology Solutions investors that purchase the stock on or after the 17th of November will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 29th of November.
The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.27 per share, on the back of last year when the company paid a total of US$1.08 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, Cognizant Technology Solutions has a trailing yield of approximately 1.8% on its current stock price of $58.42. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. As a result, readers should always check whether Cognizant Technology Solutions has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Cognizant Technology Solutions is paying out just 24% of its profit after tax, which is comfortably low and leaves plenty of breathing room in the case of adverse events. 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 23% of its free cash flow as dividends last year, which is conservatively low.
It's encouraging to see that the dividend is covered by both profit and cash flow. This generally suggests the dividend is sustainable, as long as earnings don't drop precipitously.
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. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. Fortunately for readers, Cognizant Technology Solutions's earnings per share have been growing at 12% a year for the past five years. The company has managed to grow earnings at a rapid rate, while reinvesting most of the profits within the business. This will make it easier to fund future growth efforts and we think this is an attractive combination - plus the dividend can always be increased later.
Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Cognizant Technology Solutions has delivered an average of 10% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past six years of dividend payments. It's great to see earnings per share growing rapidly over several years, and dividends per share growing right along with it.
To Sum It Up
Should investors buy Cognizant Technology Solutions for the upcoming dividend? Cognizant Technology Solutions 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. It's a promising combination that should mark this company worthy of closer attention.
While it's tempting to invest in Cognizant Technology Solutions for the dividends alone, you should always be mindful of the risks involved. Our analysis shows 2 warning signs for Cognizant Technology Solutions and you should be aware of them before buying any shares.
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.
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