Is Procter & Gamble's Dividend in Trouble?

With over 120 consecutive years of payments under its belt, consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) is one of the sturdiest dividend payers you can find. However, as earnings growth has slowed in recent years, the company's payout ratio has surged higher -- approaching two-thirds of P&G's earnings. Is it time for investors to worry about the growth prospects for this century-old dividend?

PG Payout Ratio (TTM) Chart

PG Payout Ratio (TTM) data by YCharts.

In the video below, Fool contributor Demitrios Kalogeropoulos says it isn't, arguing that P&G's dividend is very safe -- for at least two reasons. First, the company's earnings have been depressed lately by foreign currency issues. If you strip those out, you get a much more comfortable picture of earnings growth as compared to the dividend. For example, last quarter's 5% profit jump was closer to 17% after accounting for currency translations, easily above the 7% dividend boost that P&G declared for the year.

Second, Demitrios highlights Procter & Gamble's ability to generate mounds of cash. At $7 billion over the last nine months, the company's free cash flow amply covered the $5 billion that was paid out in dividends over the same period. That's why P&G's payout has plenty of room to continue growing in the years ahead despite stubbornly slow profit gains.

More high-quality dividend payers
The smartest investors know that dividend stocks like P&G 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.


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