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 the distribution of a company's earnings paid out to shareholders; it's often viewed by its dividend yield, a metric that measures a 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.
U.S. Bancorp in Focus
Based in Minneapolis, U.S. Bancorp (USB - Free Report) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 12.28%. The financial services holding company is paying out a dividend of $0.37 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.88% compared to the Banks - Major Regional industry's yield of 2.92% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.93%.
Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.48 is up 10.4% from last year. In the past five-year period, U.S. Bancorp has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 8.43%. 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. U.S. Bancorp's current payout ratio is 36%. This means it paid out 36% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Earnings growth looks solid for USB for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $4.35 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 6.10%.
From greatly improving stock investing profits and reducing overall portfolio risk to providing tax advantages, investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide a quarterly payout.
For instance, it's a rare occurrence when a tech start-up or big growth business offers their shareholders a dividend. It's more common to see larger companies with more established profits give out dividends. Income investors have to be mindful of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. With that in mind, USB is a compelling investment opportunity. Not only is it a strong dividend play, but the stock currently sits at a Zacks Rank of 3 (Hold).