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This is Why Washington Federal (WAFD) 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. 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

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington Federal (WAFD - Free Report) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 29.92% so far this year. The holding company for Washington Federal Savings Bank is paying out a dividend of $0.23 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.75% compared to the Banks - West industry's yield of 1.72% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.3%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $0.92 is up 5.7% from last year. Washington Federal has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 12.71%. 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 46%. This means it paid out 46% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Earnings growth looks solid for WAFD for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $2.10 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 5%.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. However, not all companies offer 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. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. With that in mind, WAFD presents a compelling investment opportunity; it's not only an attractive dividend play, but the stock also boasts a strong Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).


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