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BancorpSouth (BXS) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?

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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.

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.

BancorpSouth in Focus

BancorpSouth (BXS - Free Report) is headquartered in Tupelo, and is in the Finance sector. The stock has seen a price change of 3.24% since the start of the year. The bank is paying out a dividend of $0.19 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.68% compared to the Banks - Southeast industry's yield of 1.84% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.32%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.76 is up 2% from last year. Over the last 5 years, BancorpSouth has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 12.99%. Future dividend growth will depend on earnings growth as well as payout ratio, which is the proportion of a company's annual earnings per share that it pays out as a dividend. Right now, BancorpSouth's payout ratio is 28%, which means it paid out 28% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Earnings growth looks solid for BXS for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $2.33 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 9.91%.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons, from tax advantages and decreasing overall portfolio risk to considerably improving stock investing profits. 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 BXS 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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