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.
Cash flow can come from bond interest, interest from other types of investments, and of course, 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.
Johnson & Johnson in Focus
Headquartered in New Brunswick, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) is a Medical stock that has seen a price change of -0.02% so far this year. The world's biggest maker of health care products is paying out a dividend of $0.9 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.58% compared to the Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry's yield of 2.59% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.79%.
Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $3.60 is up 8.4% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Johnson & Johnson has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 6.50%. Future dividend growth will depend on earnings growth as well as payout ratio, which is the proportion of a company's annual earnings per share that it pays out as a dividend. Johnson & Johnson's current payout ratio is 46%, meaning it paid out 46% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Looking at this fiscal year, JNJ expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 is $8.14 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 11.51%.
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.
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 JNJ is not only an attractive dividend play, but also represents a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).