Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. But 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 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 account for significant portions of long-term returns, with dividend contributions exceeding one-third of total returns in many cases.
Peoples Bancorp in Focus
Headquartered in Marietta, Peoples Bancorp (PEBO) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 5.83% so far this year. Currently paying a dividend of $0.36 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 5.02%. In comparison, the Banks - Midwest industry's yield is 2.68%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.37%.
Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.44 is up 5.1% from last year. Peoples Bancorp has increased its dividend 4 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 18.03%. 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. Peoples Bancorp's current payout ratio is 48%. This means it paid out 48% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Looking at this fiscal year, PEBO expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $2.13 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 9.23%.
From greatly improving stock investing profits and reducing overall portfolio risk to providing tax advantages, investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons. But, not every company offers a quarterly payout.
Big, established firms that have more secure profits are often seen as the best dividend options, but it's fairly uncommon to see high-growth businesses or tech start-ups offer their stockholders a dividend. 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, PEBO 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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