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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 Kforce Inc. (NASDAQ:KFRC) is about to go ex-dividend in just four days. The ex-dividend date is one business day before a company’s record date, which is the date on which the company determines which shareholders are entitled to receive a dividend. 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. In other words, investors can purchase Kforce’s shares before the 10th of June in order to be eligible for the dividend, which will be paid on the 25th of June.

The company’s next dividend payment will be US$0.23 per share, and in the last 12 months, the company paid a total of US$0.92 per share. Based on the last year’s worth of payments, Kforce stock has a trailing yield of around 1.5% on the current share price of $62.61. We love seeing companies pay a dividend, but it’s also important to be sure that laying the golden eggs isn’t going to kill our golden goose! We need to see whether the dividend is covered by earnings and if it’s growing.

View our latest analysis for Kforce

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned in profit, then the dividend could be unsustainable. Kforce paid out a comfortable 29% of its profit last year. 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 14% 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.

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

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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. Investors love dividends, so if earnings fall and the dividend is reduced, expect a stock to be sold off heavily at the same time. Fortunately for readers, Kforce’s earnings per share have been growing at 14% a year for the past five years. Earnings per share are growing rapidly and the company is keeping more than half of its earnings within the business; an attractive combination which could suggest the company is focused on reinvesting to grow earnings further. Fast-growing businesses that are reinvesting heavily are enticing from a dividend perspective, especially since they can often increase the payout ratio later.

Another key way to measure a company’s dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. In the past eight years, Kforce has increased its dividend at approximately 11% a year on average. 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

Has Kforce got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? Kforce 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. Kforce looks solid on this analysis overall, and we’d definitely consider investigating it more closely.

While it’s tempting to invest in Kforce for the dividends alone, you should always be mindful of the risks involved. For example, we’ve found 3 warning signs for Kforce that we recommend you consider before investing in the business.

We wouldn’t recommend just buying the first dividend stock you see, though. Here’s a list of interesting dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

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. 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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