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Why Farmers & Merchants Bancorp Inc. (FMAO) is a Great Dividend Stock Right Now

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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 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.

Farmers & Merchants Bancorp Inc. In Focus

Based in Archbold, Farmers & Merchants Bancorp Inc. (FMAO - Free Report) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of -6.91%. The company is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.17 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.18%. This compares to the Banks - Northeast industry's yield of 2% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.34%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $0.68 is up 3% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Farmers & Merchants Bancorp Inc. has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 9.47%. 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. Farmers & Merchants Bancorp Inc.'s current payout ratio is 39%, meaning it paid out 39% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Earnings growth looks solid for FMAO for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $1.83 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 8.93%.

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. 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. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. That said, they can take comfort from the fact that FMAO 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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