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M&T Bank (MTB) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?

Zacks Equity Research
Cadence Design Systems (CDNS) closed the most recent trading day at $72.67, moving +1.72% from the previous trading session.

All investors love getting big returns from their portfolio, whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities. 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.

M&T Bank in Focus

Based in Buffalo, M&T Bank (MTB) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 13.67%. Currently paying a dividend of $1 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 2.46%. In comparison, the Banks - Major Regional industry's yield is 2.86%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.96%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $4 is up 12.7% from last year. Over the last 5 years, M&T Bank has increased its dividend 2 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 6.95%. 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. M&T Bank's current payout ratio is 29%, meaning it paid out 29% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, MTB expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $14.61 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 13.61%.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons, from tax advantages and decreasing overall portfolio risk to considerably improving stock investing profits. But, not every company offers 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. Income investors have to be mindful of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. With that in mind, MTB 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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