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Is It Smart To Buy LKQ Corporation (NASDAQ:LKQ) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend?

It looks like LKQ Corporation (NASDAQ:LKQ) is about to go ex-dividend in the next 4 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 of consequence because whenever a stock is bought or sold, the trade takes at least two business day to settle. Thus, you can purchase LKQ's shares before the 15th of May in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 30th of May.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.30 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$1.20 to shareholders. Based on the last year's worth of payments, LKQ stock has a trailing yield of around 2.7% on the current share price of US$44.32. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

See our latest analysis for LKQ

Dividends are usually paid out of company profits, so if a company pays out more than it earned then its dividend is usually at greater risk of being cut. That's why it's good to see LKQ paying out a modest 37% of its 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. Fortunately, it paid out only 30% of its free cash flow in the past 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 earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. Fortunately for readers, LKQ's earnings per share have been growing at 15% 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. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.

Many investors will assess a company's dividend performance by evaluating how much the dividend payments have changed over time. Since the start of our data, three years ago, LKQ has lifted its dividend by approximately 6.3% a year on average. We're glad to see dividends rising alongside earnings over a number of years, which may be a sign the company intends to share the growth with shareholders.

Final Takeaway

From a dividend perspective, should investors buy or avoid LKQ? We love that LKQ is growing earnings per share while simultaneously paying out a low percentage of both its earnings and cash flow. These characteristics suggest the company is reinvesting in growing its business, while the conservative payout ratio also implies a reduced risk of the dividend being cut in the future. LKQ looks solid on this analysis overall, and we'd definitely consider investigating it more closely.

With that in mind, a critical part of thorough stock research is being aware of any risks that stock currently faces. For example - LKQ has 4 warning signs we think you should be aware of.

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.