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This is Why Atlantic Union (AUB) 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.

While cash flow can come from bond interest or interest from other types of investments, income investors hone in on 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.

Atlantic Union in Focus

Headquartered in Richmond, Atlantic Union (AUB - Free Report) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 8.11% so far this year. The holding company for Atlantic Union Bank is paying out a dividend of $0.28 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.15% compared to the Banks - Northeast industry's yield of 2.02% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.34%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.12 is up 12% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Atlantic Union has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 7.33%. 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. Atlantic Union's current payout ratio is 32%. This means it paid out 32% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Earnings growth looks solid for AUB for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $2.71 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 40.41%.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide a quarterly payout.

For instance, it's a rare occurrence when a tech start-up or big growth business offers their shareholders a dividend. It's more common to see larger companies with more established profits give out dividends. 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 AUB 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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