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Douglas Emmett (DEI) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?

Zacks Equity Research
Bank of NT Butterfield & Son (NTB) doesn't possess the right combination of the two key ingredients for a likely earnings beat in its upcoming report. Get prepared with the key expectations.

Getting big returns from financial portfolios, whether through stocks, bonds, ETFs, other securities, or a combination of all, is an investor's dream. However, when you're an income investor, your primary focus is generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments.

While cash flow can come from bond interest or interest from other types of investments, income investors hone in on dividends. A dividend is that coveted distribution of a company's earnings paid out to shareholders, and investors often view it by its dividend yield, a metric that measures the 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.

Douglas Emmett in Focus

Headquartered in Santa Monica, Douglas Emmett (DEI) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 21.83% so far this year. The real estate investment trust is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.26 per share, with a dividend yield of 2.5%. This compares to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 4.22% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.9%.

In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.04 is up 3% from last year. In the past five-year period, Douglas Emmett has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 5.73%. Any future dividend growth will depend on both earnings growth and the company's payout ratio; a payout ratio is the proportion of a firm's annual earnings per share that it pays out as a dividend. Douglas Emmett's current payout ratio is 50%, meaning it paid out 50% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, DEI expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $2.11 per share, with earnings expected to increase 4.46% from the year ago period.

Bottom Line

From greatly improving stock investing profits and reducing overall portfolio risk to providing tax advantages, investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide a quarterly payout.

For instance, it's a rare occurrence when a tech start-up or big growth business offers their shareholders a dividend. It's more common to see larger companies with more established profits give out dividends. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. That said, they can take comfort from the fact that DEI is not only an attractive dividend play, but is also a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).


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