Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. But for income investors, generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments is your primary focus.
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 make up large portions of long-term returns, and in many cases, dividend contributions surpass one-third of total returns.
NextEra Energy in Focus
Based in Juno Beach, NextEra Energy (NEE - Free Report) is in the Utilities sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 8.26%. Currently paying a dividend of $1.11 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 2.63%. In comparison, the Utility - Electric Power industry's yield is 3.24%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.93%.
In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $4.44 is up 13% from last year. NextEra Energy has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 11.33%. 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. NextEra's current payout ratio is 62%, meaning it paid out 62% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Looking at this fiscal year, NEE expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 is $7.78 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 16.12%.
From greatly improving stock investing profits and reducing overall portfolio risk to providing tax advantages, investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons. 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 NEE is not only an attractive dividend play, but is also a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).