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This is Why Telephone & Data Systems (TDS) is a Great Dividend Stock

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. But for income investors, generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments is your primary focus.

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 account for significant portions of long-term returns, with dividend contributions exceeding one-third of total returns in many cases.

Telephone & Data Systems in Focus

Based in Chicago, Telephone & Data Systems (TDS) is in the Utilities sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of -1.91%. Currently paying a dividend of $0.17 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 2.07%. In comparison, the Wireline - National industry's yield is 2.08%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.89%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $0.66 is up 3.1% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Telephone & Data Systems has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 4.39%. 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. TDS's current payout ratio is 50%. This means it paid out 50% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Earnings growth looks solid for TDS for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $1.23 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 5.13%.

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.

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. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. That said, they can take comfort from the fact that TDS is not only an attractive dividend play, but also represents a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy).


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