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Why Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) is a Great Dividend Stock

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. But for income investors, generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments is your primary focus.

Cash flow can come from bond interest, interest from other types of investments, and of course, 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.

Bristol-Myers Squibb in Focus

Based in New York, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) is in the Medical sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of -0.96%. The biopharmaceutical company is paying out a dividend of $0.4 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.64% compared to the Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry's yield of 2.66% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.78%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.60 is up 2.6% from last year. Bristol-Myers Squibb has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 2.54%. Looking ahead, future dividend growth will be dependent on earnings growth and payout ratio, which is the proportion of a company's annual earnings per share that it pays out as a dividend. Right now, Bristol-Myers's payout ratio is 47%, which means it paid out 47% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

BMY is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 is $3.62 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 20.27%.

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. However, not all companies offer 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 must be conscious of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. With that in mind, BMY presents a compelling investment opportunity; it's not only an attractive dividend play, but the stock also boasts a strong Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy).


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