All investors love getting big returns from their portfolio, whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities. 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 make up large portions of long-term returns, and in many cases, dividend contributions surpass one-third of total returns.
Artesian Resources in Focus
Headquartered in Newark, Artesian Resources (ARTNA - Free Report) is a Utilities stock that has seen a price change of -5.8% so far this year. Currently paying a dividend of $0.25 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 2.85%. In comparison, the Utility - Water Supply industry's yield is 1.75%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.62%.
Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1 is up 1.6% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Artesian Resources has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 2.96%. 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. Artesian Resources's current payout ratio is 57%, meaning it paid out 57% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Looking at this fiscal year, ARTNA expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 is $1.68 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 5%.
Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. But, not every company offers 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. With that in mind, ARTNA 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).