There are two ways in which investors can earn money from stocks: share price appreciation and dividends. It is not surprising that most stock valuation models use share price or dividends as a driver for intrinsic stock value. One such model is the Gordon Growth Model, which can determine the value of a stock based on a future series of dividend payments. The challenge is determining the "expected dividend."
Research the dividend growth rate. Look for guidance in the company's annual report and any recent press releases, generally available online through the company's investor relations site.
Take a look at the company's annual and quarterly filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission , known as forms 10-K and 10-Q. Also look to analyst financial projections in the back of research reports or published online.
Information on dividends is also commonly discussed in the notes to the financial statements published in the various SEC filings. If there's no information, use a historical growth rate based on previously announced dividends, which should be available online through financial information sites, the company's investor relations page or through a brokerage website.
Find the company's historical dividnd growth rate. Go back to the company's financial statements to look up the quarterly dividend for the past 2 years. Subtract the current dividend from the dividend a year ago. Divide this difference by the dividend amount a year ago and multiply by 100 for a percentage growth rate.
Work through an example. Let's assume a company just paid a dividend of $3 a share. Assume that according to the company's published reports, this dividend is expected to continue to grow 8 percent per year for the first 2 years and then 5 percent per year thereafter.
Calculate the expected dividend per share for Year 2. Multiply the dividend payout amount ($3) by the expected growth rate (8 percent) and add the Year 1 dividend amount. The calculation is $3.00 * .08 = .24 + $3 = $3.24. This is the expected dividend for Year 2 based on the company's projections
Calculate the expected dividend for Year 3 at a 5 percent rate of growth, based on that published estimate. Multiply the new dividend by the new interest rate; that is, $3.24 * .05 + $3.00 = $3.50