Is JPMorgan Chase & Co. a Great Dividend Stock Today?

JPMorgan's dividend yield surged to 2.9% this week, beating the average Dow dividend payer. Does that make the bank a great choice for income investors?

Apr 11, 2014 at 6:00PM

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) has taken a beating recently, sending the stock 7% lower this week. Last Friday, the megabank paid out a $0.38 dividend per share, raising its trailing payouts to $1.52 per share. Together, these two events pushed JPMorgan's dividend yield up to 2.9%. That's a significant spike that carried the bank above the average Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) yield for the first time in ages.

JPM Dividend Yield (TTM) Chart

JPM Dividend Yield (TTM) data by YCharts.

JPMorgan's dividend hasn't looked this juicy since summer 2012. The current yield is a huge step up from the slashed-by-the-ankles levels of the 2008-2009 financial crash. What's not to love about this resurgent dividend payer?

JPM Dividend Yield (TTM) Chart

JPM Dividend Yield (TTM) data by YCharts.

A few things, actually.

For one, JPMorgan's quartely payouts have only just climbed back to those delicious pre-crash levels. Last Friday's check was the same size as those issued in each quarter of 2008.

For another, JPMorgan pays out just 33.8% of its earnings as dividends. The bank may race ahead of the Dow's average yield right now, but both the payout boost rate and earnings-based payout ratio lag behind the average Dow peer.

These are red flags for serious dividend investors. And things get even uglier when you account for the stock's chronic underperformance:

JPM Chart

JPM data by YCharts.

Today's earnings report dragged JPMorgan shares down another 3%, but that's just a minor blip on the radar. It's more useful to notice that the stock has trailed the Dow by a large margin over the last five years. The story doesn't get any happier if you zoom out to a 10-year perspective, or even all the way back to the limits of my charting tools, circa 1975:

JPM Chart

JPM data by YCharts.

Income investors don't expect huge share price returns, but you should at least expect the stock to keep pace with the broader market. If not, even the fattest dividend around can't make up for disappointing long-term pricing trends.

Jumping to the bottom line, it doesn't make sense to invest your dividend-hunting nest egg in JPMorgan shares. The stock used to be a recommendation for The Fool's Income Investor newsletter, but those days are long gone. And unless something changes in JPMorgan's fundamentals or business model, the above-average dividend yield won't actually look attractive for the foreseeable future.

Top dividend stocks for the next decade
JPMorgan's dividends may not pass muster, but the smartest investors know that dividend stocks simply crush their non-dividend paying counterparts over the long term. That's beyond dispute. They also know that a well-constructed dividend portfolio creates wealth steadily, while still allowing you to sleep like a baby. Knowing how valuable such a portfolio might be, our top analysts put together a report on a group of high-yielding stocks that should be in any income investor's portfolio. To see our free report on these stocks, just click here now.


Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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