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Why AES (AES) is a Top Dividend Stock for Your Portfolio

Zacks Equity Research
Covenant Transportation (CVTI) delivered earnings and revenue surprises of 35.00% and -3.40%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 2019. Do the numbers hold clues to what lies ahead for the stock?

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.

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 account for significant portions of long-term returns, with dividend contributions exceeding one-third of total returns in many cases.

AES in Focus

Headquartered in Arlington, AES (AES) is a Utilities stock that has seen a price change of 26.42% so far this year. The power company is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.14 per share, with a dividend yield of 2.99%. This compares to the Utility - Electric Power industry's yield of 2.91% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.93%.

In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.55 is up 5.8% from last year. Over the last 5 years, AES has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 22.32%. 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. AES's current payout ratio is 42%, meaning it paid out 42% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Earnings growth looks solid for AES for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $1.32 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 6.45%.

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.

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, AES 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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