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This is Why Sempra (SRE) is a Great Dividend Stock

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All investors love getting big returns from their portfolio, whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities. 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 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 make up large portions of long-term returns, and in many cases, dividend contributions surpass one-third of total returns.

Sempra in Focus

Headquartered in San Diego, Sempra (SRE - Free Report) is a Utilities stock that has seen a price change of -12.68% so far this year. The natural gas and electricity provider is paying out a dividend of $1.04 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.16% compared to the Utility - Gas Distribution industry's yield of 3.41% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.62%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $4.18 is up 8% from last year. In the past five-year period, Sempra has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 8.54%. 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. Sempra's current payout ratio is 54%. This means it paid out 54% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, SRE expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 is $7.68 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 13.27%.

Bottom Line

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.

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 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 SRE 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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