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.
People's United in Focus
Based in Bridgeport, People's United (PBCT - Free Report) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of -9.25%. Currently paying a dividend of $0.17 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 4.12%. In comparison, the Financial - Savings and Loan industry's yield is 1.89%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.88%.
In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.70 is up 1.7% from last year. Over the last 5 years, People's United has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 1.53%. 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. People's United's current payout ratio is 59%. This means it paid out 59% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Looking at this fiscal year, PBCT expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 is $1.30 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 34.02%.
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.
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. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. With that in mind, PBCT presents a compelling investment opportunity; it's not only an attractive dividend play, but the stock also boasts a strong Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).