17 Low-Debt Dividend Stocks With High Profitability

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Includes: ARB, ARDNA, ASR, BMI, BMRC, CASC-OLD, CATO, CHS, COLB, KDN, LTXB, MKTAY, NKSH, NWFL, PFS, TROW, WSM
by: Kapitall

Because there are so many different ways to look at a company’s profitability, it can seem like a difficult task. One idea is to compare a company’s profitability margins to its industry peers. Companies with higher margins are taking a greater percentage of sales as profits, and they also have tighter control over their cost structure.

We ran a screen on dividend stocks with low debt-to-equity ratios for those with impressive profitability, beating their industry peers on gross, operating and pretax margins.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.‬

We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.

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Do you think these stocks pay reliable dividends? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

List sorted by dividend yield.

1. Grupo Aeroportuario Del Sureste SA de CV (NYSE:ASR): Holds concessions to operate, maintain and develop airports in the southeast region of Mexico. Market cap of $1.61B. Dividend yield at 4.76%, payout ratio at 48.36%. Total debt/equity at 0.05. TTM gross margin at 55.16% vs. industry gross margin at 46.97%. TTM operating margin at 42.74% vs. industry operating margin at 28.02%. TTM pretax margin at 43.52% vs. industry pretax margin at 24.34%. It has been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 7.2% over the last week.

2. Norwood Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:NWFL): Operates as the holding company for Wayne Bank, which provides various commercial banking products and services to individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations and municipalities in Pennsylvania. Market cap of $82.91M. Dividend yield at 4.60%, payout ratio at 49.02%. Total debt/equity at 0.0. TTM gross margin at 78.78% vs. industry gross margin at 71.81%. TTM operating margin at 48.25% vs. industry operating margin at 39.68%. TTM pretax margin at 30.43% vs. industry pretax margin at 22.62%. The stock has lost 3.71% over the last year.

3. National Bankshares Inc. (NASDAQ:NKSH): Operates as the holding company for the National Bank of Blacksburg (NBB), a chartered national bank that provides a range of retail and commercial banking services to individuals, businesses, non-profits and local governments in Virginia. Market cap of $186.96M. Dividend yield at 3.86%, payout ratio at 39.79%. Total debt/equity at 0.0. TTM gross margin at 77.61% vs. industry gross margin at 71.86%. TTM operating margin at 51.99% vs. industry operating margin at 39.71%. TTM pretax margin at 36.61% vs. industry pretax margin at 22.63%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 5.69% (equivalent to 29.95 days of average volume). The stock has lost 3.23% over the last year.

4. Cato Corp. (NYSE:CATO): Operates as a specialty retailer of fashion apparel and accessories in the southeastern United States. Market cap of $705.38M. Dividend yield at 3.80%, payout ratio at 38.10%. Total debt/equity at 0.0. TTM gross margin at 37.99% vs. industry gross margin at 37.92%. TTM operating margin at 10.02% vs. industry operating margin at 10.00%. TTM pretax margin at 10.43% vs. industry pretax margin at 9.34%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 9.07% (equivalent to 12.83 days of average volume). It has been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.96% over the last week.

5. Provident Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE:PFS): Operates as the holding company for The Provident Bank that provides banking services to individuals, families and businesses in New Jersey. Market cap of $766.03M. Dividend yield at 3.79%, payout ratio at 48.01%. Total debt/equity at 0.0. TTM gross margin at 69.26% vs. industry gross margin at 62.59%. TTM operating margin at 35.66% vs. industry operating margin at 33.62%. TTM pretax margin at 23.44% vs. industry pretax margin at 13.34%. The stock has lost 9.89% over the last year.

6. Kaydon Corporation (NYSE:KDN): Engages in the design, manufacture and sale of custom engineered and performance-critical products in the United States, Germany and internationally. Market cap of $915.42M. Dividend yield at 2.81%, payout ratio at 48.54%. Total debt/equity at 0.0. TTM gross margin at 41.67% vs. industry gross margin at 32.36%. TTM operating margin at 17.50% vs. industry operating margin at 12.94%. TTM pretax margin at 16.53% vs. industry pretax margin at 11.06%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 6.13% (equivalent to 6.67 days of average volume). It has been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.53% over the last week.

7. Badger Meter Inc. (NYSE:BMI): Engages in manufacturing and marketing liquid flow measurement and control technology products worldwide. Market cap of $409.15M. Dividend yield at 2.37%, payout ratio at 36.10%. Total debt/equity at 0.01. TTM gross margin at 39.07% vs. industry gross margin at 36.86%. TTM operating margin at 13.17% vs. industry operating margin at 9.94%. TTM pretax margin at 13.08% vs. industry pretax margin at 10.81%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 9.54% (equivalent to 11.04 days of average volume). It has been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 8.52% over the last week.

8. T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:TROW): A publicly owned asset management holding company. Market cap of $13.68B. Dividend yield at 2.29%, payout ratio at 39.99%. Total debt/equity at 0.0. TTM gross margin at 47.15% vs. industry gross margin at 45.79%. TTM operating margin at 44.61% vs. industry operating margin at 36.51%. TTM pretax margin at 45.57% vs. industry pretax margin at 26.06%. It has been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 8.3% over the last week.

9. Cascade Corp. (NYSE:CASC-OLD): Manufactures loading devices and replacement parts primarily for the lift-truck and construction industry. Market cap of $496.61M. Dividend yield at 2.23%, payout ratio at 27.78%. Total debt/equity at 0.08. TTM gross margin at 33.16% vs. industry gross margin at 32.28%. TTM operating margin at 14.94% vs. industry operating margin at 12.77%. TTM pretax margin at 14.19% vs. industry pretax margin at 10.88%. It has been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 5.94% over the last week.

10. Chico's FAS Inc. (NYSE:CHS): Operates as a specialty retailer of casual-to-dressy clothing, intimates, complementary accessories and other non-clothing gift items. Market cap of $1.73B. Dividend yield at 1.94%, payout ratio at 24.74%. Total debt/equity at 0.0. TTM gross margin at 60.80% vs. industry gross margin at 37.93%. TTM operating margin at 10.55% vs. industry operating margin at 10.02%. TTM pretax margin at 10.28% vs. industry pretax margin at 9.36%. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 13.05%.

11. Bank of Marin Bancorp (NASDAQ:BMRC): Operates as the bank holding company for Bank of Marin that offers a range of commercial and retail banking products and services in California. Market cap of $191.88M. Dividend yield at 1.89%, payout ratio at 21.13%. Total debt/equity at 0.04. TTM gross margin at 84.75% vs. industry gross margin at 71.86%. TTM operating margin at 50.80% vs. industry operating margin at 39.71%. TTM pretax margin at 35.35% vs. industry pretax margin at 22.63%. The stock has gained 2.89% over the last year.

12. Makita Corp. (NASDAQ:MKTAY): Manufactures and sells a range of electric power tools worldwide. Market cap of $4.48B. Dividend yield at 2.64%, payout ratio at 28.51%. Total debt/equity at 0.01. TTM gross margin at 41.13% vs. industry gross margin at 32.28%. TTM operating margin at 16.27% vs. industry operating margin at 12.78%. TTM pretax margin at 15.61% vs. industry pretax margin at 10.87%. The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 8% below its SMA20, 12.82% below its SMA50, and 23.85% below its SMA200. It has been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 7.7% over the last week.

13. Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE:WSM): Operates as a specialty retailer of home products. Market cap of $3.87B. Dividend yield at 1.82%, payout ratio at 30.22%. Total debt/equity at 0.01. TTM gross margin at 43.22% vs. industry gross margin at 37.88%. TTM operating margin at 10.09% vs. industry operating margin at 10.00%. TTM pretax margin at 10.09% vs. industry pretax margin at 9.33%. The stock has gained 10.33% over the last year.

14. Columbia Banking System Inc. (NASDAQ:COLB): Operates as the bank holding company for Columbia State Bank, which provides a range of banking products and services to small and medium-sized businesses, professionals and individuals in the states of Washington and Oregon. Market cap of $709.03M. Dividend yield at 1.78%, payout ratio at 13.02%. Total debt/equity at 0.03. TTM gross margin at 86.91% vs. industry gross margin at 71.86%. TTM operating margin at 46.18% vs. industry operating margin at 39.71%. TTM pretax margin at 23.86% vs. industry pretax margin at 22.63%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 7.5% (equivalent to 11.49 days of average volume). The stock has lost 8.47% over the last year.

15. Viewpoint Financial Group (VPFG): Operates as the holding company for ViewPoint Bank, which provides financial services for consumers and businesses. Market cap of $429.64M. Dividend yield at 1.58%, payout ratio at 28.60%. Total debt/equity at 0.09. TTM gross margin at 72.76% vs. industry gross margin at 62.59%. TTM operating margin at 35.16% vs. industry operating margin at 33.62%. TTM pretax margin at 22.67% vs. industry pretax margin at 13.34%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 7% (equivalent to 10.71 days of average volume). The stock has gained 15.71% over the last year.

16. Arbitron Inc. (NYSE:ARB): Provides media and marketing information services in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $948.57M. Dividend yield at 1.15%, payout ratio at 19.80%. Total debt/equity at 0.0. TTM gross margin at 54.30% vs. industry gross margin at 42.19%. TTM operating margin at 20.16% vs. industry operating margin at 18.49%. TTM pretax margin at 21.77% vs. industry pretax margin at 14.22%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 5.82% (equivalent to 9.18 days of average volume). It has been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 8.68% over the last week.

17. Arden Group Inc. (NASDAQ:ARDNA): Operates supermarkets in southern California. Market cap of $279.71M. Dividend yield at 1.10%, payout ratio at 17.10%. Total debt/equity at 0.01. TTM gross margin at 39.08% vs. industry gross margin at 24.35%. TTM operating margin at 6.53% vs. industry operating margin at 5.51%. TTM pretax margin at 7.19% vs. industry pretax margin at 5.15%. The stock has gained 15.53% over the last year.

*Profitability data sourced from Fidelity, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.