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Why Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) is a Top 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 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.

Huntington Bancshares in Focus

Based in Columbus, Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 6.39%. The regional bank holding company is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.11 per share, with a dividend yield of 2.84%. This compares to the Banks - Midwest industry's yield of 1.8% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.78%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.44 is up 25.7% from last year. In the past five-year period, Huntington Bancshares has increased its dividend 4 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 18.82%. 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. Huntington Bancshares's current payout ratio is 40%. This means it paid out 40% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, HBAN expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 is $1.23 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 38.20%.

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. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide 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. That said, they can take comfort from the fact that HBAN is not only an attractive dividend play, but also represents a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).


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