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Unum (UNM) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?
Getting big returns from financial portfolios, whether through stocks, bonds, ETFs, other securities, or a combination of all, is an investor's dream. However, 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.
Unum in Focus
Unum (UNM - Free Report) is headquartered in Chattanooga, and is in the Finance sector. The stock has seen a price change of 62.51% since the start of the year. Currently paying a dividend of $0.33 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 3.31%. In comparison, the Insurance - Accident and Health industry's yield is 1.64%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.77%.
Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.32 is up 12.8% from last year. Unum has increased its dividend 4 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 6.18%. 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. Unum's current payout ratio is 23%. This means it paid out 23% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Earnings growth looks solid for UNM for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 is $6.11 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 40.46%.
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 have to be mindful 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 UNM is not only an attractive dividend play, but also represents a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy).