Don’t take any stated yields for granted these days! The financial news has been flooded with dividend cuts lately, with Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA) and Mattel (MAT) taking the hatchet to their payouts, and telecom Windstream (WIN) dropping its dividend too.
It’s dangerous to buy headline yields – or even supposedly “safe” blue chips with more modest dividends – without looking at the profits funding these payouts. Companies with high payout ratios (how much in earnings, funds from operations and other measures a company pays out in the form of dividends) are a twofold risk:
- High payout ratios can lead to a slowing in dividend growth, which means your payout is increasingly likely to fall behind inflation.