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This is Why National Fuel Gas (NFG) is a Great Dividend Stock

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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 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.

National Fuel Gas in Focus

Based in Williamsville, National Fuel Gas (NFG - Free Report) is in the Utilities sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 43.33%. The energy company is paying out a dividend of $0.46 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.09% compared to the Utility - Gas Distribution industry's yield of 2.98% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.34%.

In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.82 is up 1.1% from last year. In the past five-year period, National Fuel Gas has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 2.41%. 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. National Fuel Gas's current payout ratio is 43%. This means it paid out 43% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

NFG is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $5.29 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 23.31%.

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