All investors love getting big returns from their portfolio, whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities. But for income investors, generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments is your primary focus.
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.
Zions in Focus
Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Zions (ZION) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 21.01% so far this year. The financial holding company is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.3 per share, with a dividend yield of 2.43%. This compares to the Banks - West industry's yield of 1.74% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.98%.
In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.20 is up 15.4% from last year. Zions has increased its dividend 4 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 55.33%. 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. Zions's current payout ratio is 29%, meaning it paid out 29% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
ZION is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $4.43 per share, with earnings expected to increase 8.58% from the year ago period.
Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. However, not all companies offer 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. With that in mind, ZION 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).