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Lincoln National (LNC) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?

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Getting big returns from financial portfolios, whether through stocks, bonds, ETFs, other securities, or a combination of all, is an investor's dream. However, when you're an income investor, your primary focus is generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments.

Cash flow can come from bond interest, interest from other types of investments, and of course, 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.

Lincoln National in Focus

Lincoln National (LNC - Free Report) is headquartered in Radnor, and is in the Finance sector. The stock has seen a price change of -35.23% since the start of the year. Currently paying a dividend of $0.4 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 4.19%. In comparison, the Insurance - Life Insurance industry's yield is 0.16%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.62%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.60 is up 8.1% from last year. In the past five-year period, Lincoln National has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 14.78%. 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. Right now, Lincoln National's payout ratio is 20%, which means it paid out 20% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, LNC expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 is $7.86 per share, with earnings expected to increase 79.45% from the year ago period.

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. 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 have to be mindful of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. With that in mind, LNC 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).


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