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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights Conagra Brands, MidAmerica Apartment Communities, S&T Bancorp and BankFinancial

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – February 8, 2023 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Conagra Brands (CAG), MidAmerica Apartment Communities (MAA - Free Report) , S&T Bancorp (STBA - Free Report) and BankFinancial (BFIN - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

4 Top High-Yield Dividend Stocks to Buy in February

Signs of U.S. consumer prices slowing down in December cleared the path for slower interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. In December, the consumer price index rose by 6.5% on a year-on-year basis. But that’s the smallest 12-month jump since October 2021, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Fed acknowledged that price pressures are decreasing in the United States, and has recently approved a quarter-of-a-percentage-point increase in the benchmark interest rate. However, that’s smaller than the 50 basis points hike in December, which had followed 75 basis-point hikes consecutively in 2022.

But regrettably, a blowout January employment report yet again raised concerns about a more aggressive Fed. In January, nonfarm payrolls soared by 517,000, crushing analysts’ forecast of 187,000, per the Labor Department.Notably, employment gains were also revised higher in the months of November and December.What’s more, the unemployment rate declined to 3.4%, the lowest since 1969, added the Labor Department.

The CME FedWatch Tool stated that market pundits are now factoring in a nearly 97% chance of another quarter-point rate increase in March, while 74% think there will be another similar rate hike in May, and a third rate hike of the same size in June. And why not? More job additions may lead to higher spending, eventually lifting the prices of indispensable goods and services. But inflation is something that the Fed is bent on taming and hence may be compelled to remain hawkish.

Now, further rate hikes don’t bode well for the economy, which is facing the threat of a recession soon. Rate hikes disrupt consumer outlays and increase the cost of borrowing. Hence, no doubt, the stock market took a beating on Feb 6 when the unexpectedly strong jobs report was declared. And given the possibility of additional rate hikes on the horizon, the stock market is sure to gyrate.

So, from an investment standpoint, now is the time to invest in companies that pay high dividends. This is because these companies have solid business models that help them provide a steady stream of income despite market upheavals.

We have, thus, highlighted four such stocks that have a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and provide high yields. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Conagra Brands is one of the leading branded food companies in North America. The company has a Zacks Rank #1. It has a dividend yield of 3.6%, while its five-year average dividend yield is 3.1%. In the past 5-year period, CAG has increased its dividend three times, and its payout has advanced by 12.2%. Check Conagra Brands’ dividend history here.

MidAmerica Apartment Communities is a residential real estate investment trust. The company has a Zacks Rank #2. It has a dividend yield of 3.2%, while its five-year average dividend yield is 3.1%. In the past 5-year period, MAA has increased its dividend six times, and its payout has advanced by 5.5%. Check MidAmerica Apartment Communities’ dividend history here.

S&T Bancorp is a bank holding company engaged in the general banking business. The company has a Zacks Rank #1. It has a dividend yield of 3.3%, while its five-year average dividend yield is 3.5%. In the past 5-year period, STBA has increased its dividend seven times, and its payout has advanced by 4.5%. Check S&T Bancorp’s dividend history here.

BankFinancial is the holding company for BankFinancial, F.S.B., a full-service, community-oriented savings bank providing financial services to individuals, families, and businesses. The company has a Zacks Rank #1. It has a dividend yield of 3.8%, while its five-year average dividend yield is 3.5%. In the past 5-year period, BFIN has increased its dividend two times, and its payout has advanced by 1.8%. Check BankFinancial’s dividend history here.

By the way, Conagra Brands, MidAmerica Apartment, S&T Bancorp, and BankFinancial’s expected earnings growth rates for the current year are 12.7%, 8%, 6.1%, and 48.8%, respectively.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc. (MAA) - free report >>

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BankFinancial Corporation (BFIN) - free report >>

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