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First United Corporation (NASDAQ:FUNC) stock is about to trade ex-dividend in 3 days. The ex-dividend date occurs one day before the record date which is the day on which shareholders need to be on the company’s books in order 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. This means that investors who purchase First United’s shares on or after the 15th of October will not receive the dividend, which will be paid on the 1st of November.

The company’s next dividend payment will be US$0.15 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.60 to shareholders. Looking at the last 12 months of distributions, First United has a trailing yield of approximately 3.3% on its current stock price of $18.38. 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! As a result, readers should always check whether First United has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

See our latest analysis for First United

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. First United is paying out just 21% of its profit after tax, which is comfortably low and leaves plenty of breathing room in the case of adverse events.

When a company paid out less in dividends than it earned in profit, this generally suggests its dividend is affordable. The lower the % of its profit that it pays out, the greater the margin of safety for the dividend if the business enters a downturn.

Click here to see how much of its profit First United paid out over the last 12 months.

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Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

Stocks in companies that generate sustainable earnings growth often make the best dividend prospects, as it is easier to lift the dividend when earnings are rising. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. With that in mind, we’re encouraged by the steady growth at First United, with earnings per share up 9.8% on average over the last five years.

Another key way to measure a company’s dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. First United has delivered an average of 19% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past three years of dividend payments. 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

Has First United got what it takes to maintain its dividend payments? First United has seen its earnings per share grow slowly in recent years, and the company reinvests more than half of its profits in the business, which generally bodes well for its future prospects. We think this is a pretty attractive combination, and would be interested in investigating First United more closely.

So while First United looks good from a dividend perspective, it’s always worthwhile being up to date with the risks involved in this stock. Every company has risks, and we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for First United (of which 1 is concerning!) you should know about.

A common investment mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a list of promising dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

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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