We Wouldn't Be Too Quick To Buy eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) Before It Goes Ex-Dividend

·3-min read

eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next three 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 eBay's shares before the 31st of May in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 17th of June.

The company's next dividend payment will be US$0.22 per share. Last year, in total, the company distributed US$0.88 to shareholders. Calculating the last year's worth of payments shows that eBay has a trailing yield of 1.9% on the current share price of $46.47. Dividends are an important source of income to many shareholders, but the health of the business is crucial to maintaining those dividends. As a result, readers should always check whether eBay has been able to grow its dividends, or if the dividend might be cut.

See our latest analysis for eBay

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. eBay reported a loss after tax last year, which means it's paying a dividend despite being unprofitable. While this might be a one-off event, this is unlikely to be sustainable in the long term. Considering the lack of profitability, we also need to check if the company generated enough cash flow to cover the dividend payment. If eBay didn't generate enough cash to pay the dividend, then it must have either paid from cash in the bank or by borrowing money, neither of which is sustainable in the long term. Fortunately, it paid out only 27% of its free cash flow in the past year.

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?

Businesses with shrinking earnings are tricky from a dividend perspective. If earnings fall far enough, the company could be forced to cut its dividend. eBay reported a loss last year, and the general trend suggests its earnings have also been declining in recent years, making us wonder if the dividend is at risk.

The main way most investors will assess a company's dividend prospects is by checking the historical rate of dividend growth. eBay has delivered an average of 16% per year annual increase in its dividend, based on the past three years of dividend payments.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of eBay's financial health, by checking our visualisation of its financial health, here.

Final Takeaway

Is eBay worth buying for its dividend? We're a bit uncomfortable with it paying a dividend while being loss-making. However, we note that the dividend was covered by cash flow. With the way things are shaping up from a dividend perspective, we'd be inclined to steer clear of eBay.

With that being said, if you're still considering eBay as an investment, you'll find it beneficial to know what risks this stock is facing. For example, we've found 3 warning signs for eBay that we recommend you consider before investing in the business.

A common investing mistake is buying the first interesting stock you see. Here you can find a full list of high-yield dividend stocks.

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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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