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This is Why Spire (SR) is a Great Dividend Stock

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Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. But 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 account for significant portions of long-term returns, with dividend contributions exceeding one-third of total returns in many cases.

Spire in Focus

Spire (SR - Free Report) is headquartered in St Louis, and is in the Utilities sector. The stock has seen a price change of 18.19% since the start of the year. The natural gas distributor is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.65 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.44%. This compares to the Utility - Gas Distribution industry's yield of 2.86% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.28%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $2.60 is up 4.4% from last year. In the past five-year period, Spire has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 5.94%. 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, Spire's payout ratio is 54%, which means it paid out 54% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, SR expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $4.41 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 17.29%.

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. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide a quarterly payout.

High-growth firms or tech start-ups, for example, rarely provide their shareholders a dividend, while larger, more established companies that have more secure profits are often seen as the best dividend options. 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, SR 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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