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Bar Harbor Bankshares (BHB) 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 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 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.

Bar Harbor Bankshares in Focus

Headquartered in Bar Harbor, Bar Harbor Bankshares (BHB - Free Report) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 23.95% so far this year. The bank is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.24 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.43%. This compares to the Banks - Northeast industry's yield of 2.05% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.35%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $0.96 is up 9.1% from last year. In the past five-year period, Bar Harbor Bankshares has increased its dividend 4 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 5.47%. 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. Right now, Bar Harbor's payout ratio is 38%, which means it paid out 38% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

BHB is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $2.58 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 12.66%.

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. However, not all companies offer 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 have to be mindful of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. With that in mind, BHB 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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