Is it a trap? 3 ASX shares with ultra-high dividend yields

a man in a business shirt and tie takes a wide leap over a large steel trap with jagged teeth that is place directly underneath him.

a man in a business shirt and tie takes a wide leap over a large steel trap with jagged teeth that is place directly underneath him.

Dividends from ASX shares are a beautiful thing – representing real cash flow from your capital in your pocket. And a large dividend from an ASX share, well, that’s even better.

But the higher a share’s dividend, the more investors have to lose. See, the market isn’t silly. If it’s pricing an ASX share with a high dividend yield (yes, the two are directly correlated), there’s probably a reason why.

So you should be very careful when you see an ASX share with a dividend yield of 8, 9 or even 10% or greater. You could be the victim of a dividend trap.

A dividend trap is set off when an investor buys an ASX share with the expectation of a high dividend continuing. When it doesn’t, we often see that share fall in value, reflecting the weakness that is obviously affecting said company. Thus, the investor is ‘trapped’ in a capital loss, with far less income than what was expected to keep them company.

So let’s discuss three ASX dividend shares that are offering high yields today, but that might be dividend traps.

3 ASX shares that could be a dividend trap

Magellan Financial Group Ltd (ASX: MFG)

ASX 200 fund manager Magellan has a truly monstrous dividend yield on display today — 14.31%. That comes from the $1.16 in fully-franked dividends per share this financial services company has paid out over the past 12 months. But here’s the problem.

Magellan shares have been in freefall for almost three years now. This company is bleeding funds under management almost every month. It has gone from managing more than $100 billion a few years ago to less than $50 billion today.

Magellan only makes money off of its funds under management, so if this continues to fall, the company will only be able to afford smaller and smaller dividends. As such, I think Magellan is a classic dividend trap.

Adairs Ltd (ASX: ADH)

Adairs is another ASX 200 dividend share that looks like a trap. It currently offers a dividend yield of 8.11%, hailing from the fully-franked 18 cents per share it has paid out over the past year.

As an ASX 200 consumer discretionary retailer, this is the kind of company that investors hate to own in an environment of rising interest rates, which explains its low share price.

However, I don’t think Adairs is a dividend trap, far from it. It has recently declared an interim dividend of 8 cents per share, matching last year’s payout. And Adairs just reported sales growth of 34.1% and an increase in net profit after tax of 23.9% to $21.8 million. This indicates its business model is growing healthily, which means the dividends should keep flowing.

WAM Capital Ltd (ASX: WAM)

Popular ASX listed investment company (LIC) WAM Capital is our last share worth a look at. This LIC has a trailing dividend yield of 9.39% right now, fully franked. This comes from WAM Capital’s 15.5 cents per share paid out over the past year.

However, this also looks like a dividend trap to me. For one, the WAM Capital share price has lost almost 33% of its value over the past five years. So although it’s paid out high dividends to its investors, they are paying for those out of the company’s poorly performing share price.

But this company’s dividends are looking shaky too. WAM Capital has paid out 15.5 cents per share for years now. Yet its latest report showed that, as of 28 February, it only held 14.7 cents per share in its profit reserves. That’s not even enough to cover the next 12 months of dividends at their current level. As such, this is another ASX dividend share I would be staying away from.

The post Is it a trap? 3 ASX shares with ultra-high dividend yields appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has positions in Adairs. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Adairs. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Adairs. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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