Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. However, when you're an income investor, your primary focus is generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments.
Cash flow can come from bond interest, interest from other types of investments, and of course, dividends. A dividend is the distribution of a company's earnings paid out to shareholders; it's often viewed by its dividend yield, a metric that measures a dividend as a percent of the current stock price. Many academic studies show that dividends make up large portions of long-term returns, and in many cases, dividend contributions surpass one-third of total returns.
BB&T in Focus
Based in Winston-Salem, BB&T (BBT) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 16.14%. The regional banking company is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.41 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.22%. This compares to the Banks - Major Regional industry's yield of 2.79% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.88%.
Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.62 is up 3.8% from last year. BB&T has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 12.65%. Looking ahead, future dividend growth will be dependent on earnings growth and payout ratio, which is the proportion of a company's annual earnings per share that it pays out as a dividend. Right now, BB&T's payout ratio is 39%, which means it paid out 39% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Earnings growth looks solid for BBT for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $4.14 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 5.88%.
Investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons, from tax advantages and decreasing overall portfolio risk to considerably improving stock investing profits. However, not all companies offer a quarterly payout.
High-growth firms or tech start-ups, for example, rarely provide their shareholders a dividend, while larger, more established companies that have more secure profits are often seen as the best dividend options. Income investors must be conscious of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. With that in mind, BBT is a compelling investment opportunity. Not only is it a strong dividend play, but the stock currently sits at a Zacks Rank of 3 (Hold).
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