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Nutrien Ltd. (TSE:NTR) Looks Like A Good Stock, And It's Going Ex-Dividend Soon

Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be intrigued to know that Nutrien Ltd. (TSE:NTR) is about to go ex-dividend in just four days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before the record date, which is the cut-off date for shareholders to be present on the company's books to be eligible for a dividend payment. 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. This means that investors who purchase Nutrien's shares on or after the 30th of March will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 13th of April.

The company's upcoming dividend is US$0.53 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of US$2.12 per share to shareholders. Last year's total dividend payments show that Nutrien has a trailing yield of 3.0% on the current share price of CA$98.56. Dividends are a major contributor to investment returns for long term holders, but only if the dividend continues to be paid. That's why we should always check whether the dividend payments appear sustainable, and if the company is growing.

Check out our latest analysis for Nutrien

Dividends are typically paid out of company income, so if a company pays out more than it earned, its dividend is usually at a higher risk of being cut. Nutrien paid out just 13% 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 Nutrien generated enough free cash flow to afford its dividend. Luckily it paid out just 18% of its free cash flow last year.

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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.

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

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historic-dividend

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Companies with consistently growing earnings per share generally make the best dividend stocks, as they usually find it easier to grow dividends per share. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. It's encouraging to see Nutrien has grown its earnings rapidly, up 142% a year for the past five years. Nutrien 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.

Another key way to measure a company's dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the past five years, Nutrien has increased its dividend at approximately 5.8% a year on average. It's good to see both earnings and the dividend have improved - although the former has been rising much quicker than the latter, possibly due to the company reinvesting more of its profits in growth.

To Sum It Up

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid Nutrien? Nutrien 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. Nutrien looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.

In light of that, while Nutrien has an appealing dividend, it's worth knowing the risks involved with this stock. To that end, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Nutrien (including 1 which is concerning).

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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