U.S. Markets open in 3 hrs 6 mins

Why Principal Financial (PFG) is a Great Dividend Stock Right Now

Zacks Equity Research

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.

While cash flow can come from bond interest or interest from other types of investments, income investors hone in on 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.

Principal Financial in Focus

Based in Des Moines, Principal Financial (PFG) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 36.04%. Currently paying a dividend of $0.54 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 3.59%. In comparison, the Financial - Investment Management industry's yield is 2.8%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.87%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $2.16 is up 2.9% from last year. Principal Financial has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 11.52%. 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, Principal Financial's payout ratio is 39%, which means it paid out 39% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, PFG expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $5.70 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 3.07%.

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. But, not every company offers 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. 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 PFG is not only an attractive dividend play, but also represents a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).


Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
Principal Financial Group, Inc. (PFG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research