Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. 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 account for significant portions of long-term returns, with dividend contributions exceeding one-third of total returns in many cases.
American Tower in Focus
Headquartered in Boston, American Tower (AMT) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of -16.22% so far this year. Currently paying a dividend of $1.43 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 2.33%. In comparison, the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield is 3.92%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.68%.
In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $5.72 is up 9.8% from last year. American Tower has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 18.39%. Future dividend growth will depend on earnings growth as well as payout ratio, which is the proportion of a company's annual earnings per share that it pays out as a dividend. American Tower's current payout ratio is 58%. This means it paid out 58% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
AMT is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 is $9.84 per share, with earnings expected to increase 1.97% 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.
High-growth firms or tech start-ups, for example, rarely provide their shareholders a dividend, while larger, more established companies that have more secure profits are often seen as the best dividend options. 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, AMT 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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American Tower Corporation (AMT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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