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Umpqua Holdings (UMPQ) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?

Zacks Equity Research
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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.

Umpqua Holdings in Focus

Headquartered in Portland, Umpqua Holdings (UMPQ) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 11.32% so far this year. Currently paying a dividend of $0.21 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 4.75%. In comparison, the Banks - West industry's yield is 1.77%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.95%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $0.84 is up 2.4% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Umpqua Holdings has increased its dividend 3 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 7.43%. 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. Umpqua's current payout ratio is 58%. This means it paid out 58% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Earnings growth looks solid for UMPQ for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $1.67 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 14.38%.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide 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, UMPQ 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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