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Why Summit Financial (SMMF) is a Great Dividend Stock Right Now

Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. But 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 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.

Summit Financial in Focus

Based in Moorefield, Summit Financial (SMMF) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 2.77%. The financial holding company is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.2 per share, with a dividend yield of 2.84%. This compares to the Banks - Southeast industry's yield of 2.16% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.77%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $0.80 is up 14.3% from last year. In the past five-year period, Summit Financial has increased its dividend 4 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 10.78%. 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. Summit Financial's current payout ratio is 20%, meaning it paid out 20% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

SMMF is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 is $4.11 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 18.44%.

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. However, not all companies offer 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 have to be mindful of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. With that in mind, SMMF presents a compelling investment opportunity; it's not only an attractive dividend play, but the stock also boasts a strong Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).


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