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This is Why Washington Federal (WAFD) is a Great Dividend Stock

·3 min read

Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. But for income investors, generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments is your primary focus.

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 make up large portions of long-term returns, and in many cases, dividend contributions surpass one-third of total returns.

Washington Federal in Focus

Washington Federal (WAFD) is headquartered in Seattle, and is in the Finance sector. The stock has seen a price change of 7.73% since the start of the year. Currently paying a dividend of $0.24 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 2.67%. In comparison, the Banks - West industry's yield is 2.11%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.37%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $0.96 is up 5.5% from last year. In the past five-year period, Washington Federal has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 11.14%. 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. Washington Federal's current payout ratio is 35%, meaning it paid out 35% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, WAFD expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 is $2.92 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 22.18%.

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.

For instance, it's a rare occurrence when a tech start-up or big growth business offers their shareholders a dividend. It's more common to see larger companies with more established profits give out dividends. 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 WAFD 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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