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Dividend discount model

One of the main goals of investment analysis is to determine a company’s intrinsic value.  It’s about figuring out a company’s actual value, which goes beyond the fluctuations in market prices. This valuation is crucial as it helps investors make informed decisions on whether a stock is overvalued, undervalued, or just right.

Does the company you’re interested in pay dividends consistently? If yes, there’s a straightforward way to assess its value. It’s called the dividend discount model (DDM). The DDM is one of the most traditional and cautious approaches to valuing stocks.

To dive deeper into what is dividend discount model and how it works, keep reading.

Dividend discount model overview

The dividend discount model offers a straightforward approach to stock valuation. It suggests that a stock is truly valued when its current price is less than or equal to the present value of future dividend payments. This method is especially practical for investors focusing on dividend-yielding stocks.

Fundamentally, DDM hinges on the idea that a stock’s intrinsic value is equal to the present value of all anticipated future dividends. It operates under the premise that dividends are the fundamental return on investment for shareholders. By forecasting dividends and adjusting for risk, DDM provides an estimate of a stock’s fair market value.

DDM’s conservative nature is appealing to many as it avoids market noise and speculation. It looks beyond current market prices and conditions, focusing instead on the company’s ability to generate dividend cash flows for its shareholders.

Nevertheless, the dividend discount model assumptions necessitate giving careful thought to several aspects. Investors must make educated guesses about future dividend patterns, growth rates, and the appropriate discount rate to apply, which reflects the risk of investing in the stock.

The model is particularly suited for companies with a steady and predictable dividend issuance history. Comparing a stock’s current price to the estimated value derived from prospective dividends makes it possible to determine if the stock is overvalued or undervalued. If the DDM valuation exceeds the current trading price, it suggests the stock may be undervalued.

Dividend discount model formula

To put it into a formula, we use:

P = D1 / r-g

Here’s what each term represents:

P is the current market price.

D1 stands for the expected dividend in the next year.

r indicates the cost of equity or the return required by investors.

g is the growth rate of dividends, which is assumed to be constant.

By using the dividend discount model formula, investors get a price that reflects the present value of all future dividends, adjusted for growth and risk. This calculation gives a theoretical stock price, offering a benchmark to compare against the current market price.

Types of dividend discount model

The dividend discount model comes in various forms to suit different investment scenarios and dividend growth patterns. Let’s briefly explore these types.

  • Zero growth DDM: It is the simplest type. It assumes dividends don’t grow and remain constant over time. Here, the stock price is calculated by dividing the annual dividend by the required rate of return. It’s best for companies with a stable dividend payout.
  • Constant growth DDM: It is often known as the Gordon growth model, which assumes dividends will increase at a consistent rate indefinitely. This model is suitable for firms with a stable, predictable growth rate in dividends.
  • Two-stage DDM: It caters to companies that may experience rapid growth initially and then settle into a steady growth phase. Hence the two-stage dividend discount model formula involves two parts: an initial period of high growth and a subsequent period of stable growth.
  • Three-stage DDM: It adds another layer to the two-stage model. It is used when a company’s dividend growth rate is expected to slow down over time. Therefore, the three-stage dividend discount model formula becomes even more complex, factoring in three growth stages: It starts with an initial high growth period, then a transitional growth phase, and finally, a lower perpetual growth rate.

Limitations of dividend discount model

While the DDM is a useful tool, it has notable limitations. 

  • One significant issue is its reliance on a constant dividend growth rate. This doesn’t work well for firms with variable dividend policies or those that don’t pay dividends at all.
  • The accuracy of DDM is highly sensitive to the input values used, such as the growth rate and the discount rate. A small change in these inputs can lead to a big change in the calculated stock price. 
  • Moreover, the model falls short when it comes to companies whose return rates are lower than their dividend growth rates. In such cases, DDM may not provide a reliable stock value. 


The dividend discount model offers a practical method for valuing dividend-paying stocks by focusing on future dividend payments. While it’s useful for companies with steady dividend payments, it’s vital to recognize its limitations. 

Such as, the effectiveness can vary based on dividend discount model assumptions about dividend growth and discount rates. Despite its limitations, DDM remains a valuable tool for investors aiming to estimate a stock’s intrinsic value based on its dividend prospects.


What is the concept of dividend discount model?

The dividend discount model values a stock by calculating the present value of its expected future dividends, offering a method to estimate the stock’s intrinsic worth based on dividend payouts.

What is the two dividend discount model?

The two-stage dividend discount model values a stock by considering an initial phase of high dividend growth and then a lower, stable growth phase into perpetuity.

What is the difference between DCF and DDM model?

The discounted cash flow model values a company based on the present value of all future cash flows, while the dividend discount model values a stock based on the present value of expected future dividends.

Is CAPM a dividend discount model?

No, CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model) is not a dividend discount model. It’s a formula used to determine the expected return on investment, factoring in risk compared to the overall market.

What is Gordon’s dividend discount model?

Gordon’s dividend discount model values a stock by assuming that dividends grow at a constant rate indefinitely. It calculates the stock’s value based on expected future dividends, adjusted by the constant growth rate and required rate of return.

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