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This is Why EastGroup Properties (EGP) is a Great Dividend Stock

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Zacks Equity Research
·3 min read
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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 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 make up large portions of long-term returns, and in many cases, dividend contributions surpass one-third of total returns.

EastGroup Properties in Focus

Headquartered in Ridgeland, EastGroup Properties (EGP) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 4.76% so far this year. The real estate investment trust is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.79 per share, with a dividend yield of 2.18%. This compares to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 3.27% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.34%.

In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $3.16 is up 2.6% from last year. In the past five-year period, EastGroup Properties has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 6.50%. 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, EastGroup Properties's payout ratio is 59%, which means it paid out 59% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, EGP expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $5.71 per share, with earnings expected to increase 6.13% from the year ago period.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. But, not every company offers 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, EGP 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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