TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:AMTD) Has Got What It Takes To Be An Attractive Dividend Stock

Simply Wall St

Could TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:AMTD) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. If you are hoping to live on your dividends, it's important to be more stringent with your investments than the average punter. Regular readers know we like to apply the same approach to each dividend stock, and we hope you'll find our analysis useful.

With a 2.3% yield and a nine-year payment history, investors probably think TD Ameritrade Holding looks like a reliable dividend stock. A low yield is generally a turn-off, but if the prospects for earnings growth were strong, investors might be pleasantly surprised by the long-term results. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 2.8% of the company's market capitalisation at the time. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying TD Ameritrade Holding for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

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NasdaqGS:AMTD Historical Dividend Yield, May 22nd 2019

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Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company's net income after tax. In the last year, TD Ameritrade Holding paid out 29% of its profit as dividends. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. One of the risks is that management reinvests the retained capital poorly instead of paying a higher dividend.

Consider getting our latest analysis on TD Ameritrade Holding's financial position here.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. The first recorded dividend for TD Ameritrade Holding, in the last decade, was nine years ago. It's good to see that TD Ameritrade Holding has been paying a dividend for a number of years. However, the dividend has been cut at least once in the past, and we're concerned that what has been cut once, could be cut again. During the past nine-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.20 in 2010, compared to US$1.20 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 22% a year over that time. TD Ameritrade Holding's dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn't grown 22% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.

It's not great to see that the payment has been cut in the past. We're generally more wary of companies that have cut their dividend before, as they tend to perform worse in an economic downturn.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it's even more important to evaluate if earnings per share (EPS) are growing - it's not worth taking the risk on a dividend getting cut, unless you might be rewarded with larger dividends in future. It's good to see TD Ameritrade Holding has been growing its earnings per share at 24% a year over the past 5 years. With high earnings per share growth in recent times and a modest payout ratio, we think this is an attractive combination if earnings can be reinvested to generate further growth.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that TD Ameritrade Holding's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We're glad to see TD Ameritrade Holding has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, but it was concerning to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. TD Ameritrade Holding fits all of our criteria, and we think it's an attractive dividend idea that would warrant further investigation.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 14 analysts we track are forecasting for TD Ameritrade Holding for free with public analyst estimates for the company.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.