Woolworths Limited vs Wesfarmers Ltd: Which is better for dividends?

Credit: Woolworths

Given the reliance on superannuation for the majority of Australians, it’s easy to see why dividends have become of paramount concern to so many investors.

Whilst there are very good arguments why investors should not rely on the “usual suspects” and be concentrated amongst a handful of “blue chip” shares for their dividend needs, the fact of the matter remains that many investors choose to do just this!

Two stocks that surely feature regularly in the portfolios of self-managed super funds (SMSF) would have to be Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) and Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES).

So how do these two stocks measure up when it comes to dividends?

For the year ending 31 June 2015, Woolworths paid fully franked dividends totalling 139 cents per share (cps).

Meanwhile, Wesfarmers paid fully franked ordinary dividends totalling 200 cps.

With their respective interim dividends for financial year (FY) 2016 already paid, estimates for the full year should not be too far off the mark.

According to consensus data supplied by CommSec, Woolworths’ dividends for FY 2016 are expected to total 85.5 cps. Meanwhile, Wesfarmers’ dividends are expected to total 210 cps.

Based on current share prices this implies FY 2016 yields for Woolworths and Wesfarmers of 4.1% and 5.3% respectively.

Importantly, while expectations are for a decline in earnings per share (EPS) for both Woolworths and Wesfarmers in the current financial year, the consensus estimates for EPS in FY 2017 forecast year-on-year growth for both companies.

These forecasts flow through to expected growth in dividend pay-outs in FY 2017.

Based on these consensus estimates, Woolworths and Wesfarmers are trading on FY 2017 yields of 4.7% and 5.3% respectively.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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