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Why Comerica (CMA) is a Top Dividend Stock for Your Portfolio

Zacks Equity Research
First Commonwealth Financial (FCF) doesn't possess the right combination of the two key ingredients for a likely earnings beat in its upcoming report. Get prepared with the key expectations.

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.

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.

Comerica in Focus

Headquartered in Dallas, Comerica (CMA) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 1.03% so far this year. The regional bank is paying out a dividend of $0.67 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.86% compared to the Banks - Major Regional industry's yield of 2.9% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.95%.

In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $2.68 is up 45.7% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Comerica has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 25.63%. 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. Right now, Comerica's payout ratio is 34%, which means it paid out 34% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, CMA expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $8.24 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 14.44%.

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.

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. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. With that in mind, CMA 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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