Is WSFS Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WSFS) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company’s dividend doesn’t live up to expectations.
A slim 1.9% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, WSFS Financial could have potential. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 7.1% of the company’s market capitalisation at the time. Remember though, given the recent drop in its share price, WSFS Financial’s yield will look higher, even though the market may now be expecting a decline in its long-term prospects. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we’ll go through this below.
Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company’s net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. In the last year, WSFS Financial paid out 16% of its profit as dividends. Given the low payout ratio, it is hard to envision the dividend coming under threat, barring a catastrophe.
We update our data on WSFS Financial every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.
One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well – nasty. WSFS Financial has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.16 in 2010, compared to US$0.48 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 12% a year over that time.
Dividends have been growing pretty quickly, and even more impressively, they haven’t experienced any notable falls during this period.
Dividend Growth Potential
Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. Earnings have grown at around 8.9% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! A low payout ratio and strong historical earnings growth suggests WSFS Financial has been effectively reinvesting in its business. We think this generally bodes well for its dividend prospects.
Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company’s dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. We’re glad to see WSFS Financial has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. That said, we were glad to see it growing earnings and paying a fairly consistent dividend. WSFS Financial fits all of our criteria, and we think there are a lot of positives to it from a dividend perspective.
It’s important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. At the same time, there are other factors our readers should be conscious of before pouring capital into a stock. To that end, WSFS Financial has 4 warning signs (and 2 which are a bit unpleasant) we think you should know about.
We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at [email protected] This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.
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