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Why Penske Automotive (PAG) is a Great Dividend Stock Right Now

Zacks Equity Research

Getting big returns from financial portfolios, whether through stocks, bonds, ETFs, other securities, or a combination of all, is an investor's dream. 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 make up large portions of long-term returns, and in many cases, dividend contributions surpass one-third of total returns.

Penske Automotive in Focus

Penske Automotive (PAG) is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, and is in the Retail-Wholesale sector. The stock has seen a price change of 11.76% since the start of the year. Currently paying a dividend of $0.38 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 3.37%. In comparison, the Automotive - Retail and Whole Sales industry's yield is 0.57%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.94%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.52 is up 7% from last year. Penske Automotive has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 15.49%. 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, Penske's payout ratio is 28%, which means it paid out 28% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, PAG expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $5.60 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 4.87%.

Bottom Line

From greatly improving stock investing profits and reducing overall portfolio risk to providing tax advantages, investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide a quarterly payout.

Big, established firms that have more secure profits are often seen as the best dividend options, but it's fairly uncommon to see high-growth businesses or tech start-ups offer their stockholders a dividend. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. With that in mind, PAG 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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