Shares of specialty retailer Gap (GPS) - Get Report will trade ex-dividend Monday, April 4. That's when management of the San Francisco-based company will finalize its roster of shareholders to whom it will mail dividend checks.
There's reason to suspect that these shares will continue to climb in the future.
Gap stock has been on fire, rising more than 17% year to date and 5% in the past month. It has outperformed the S&P 500 (SPX) index year to date. And even with its recent gains, Gap stock is priced at just 13 times trailing earnings, compared to a P/E of 21 for the average stock in the S&P 500 index.
What's more, Gap shares are even cheaper when looking out to fiscal 2017. Based on forward estimates of $2.41 per share, Gap is projected to grow earnings by 7.5% year, reversing a projected decline of almost 8% for fiscal 2016. Amid its return to earnings growth, the shares are priced at just 12 times its estimates of $2.41, compared with a forward P/E of 17 for the average stock in the S&P 500 index. And its estimates are projected to grow faster than the average stock in the S&P 500 by two percentage points.
In other words, there's tons of value in Gap shares. If they were priced on par with the average stock in the S&P 500 index, would be valued today at around $40, or 38% higher. And at the stock's current price of around $29 per share, its 23-cent dividend quarterly yields 3.2% annually, or more than 1 percentage point higher than the 2.1% average yield paid out by the average stock in the S&P 500.
Gap will issue a cash payment of 23 cents a share on Wednesday, April 27 to shareholders of record as of Wednesday, April 6. The company has raised its dividend almost 200% in the past five years -- a trend that should continue, given the projected earnings increase in 2017.
If you're looking for a discounted stock that pays a strong dividend and has growth potential, Gap belongs on your shopping list.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.