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.
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.
Webster Financial in Focus
Based in Waterbury, Webster Financial (WBS - Free Report) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 12.64%. The holding company for Webster Bank is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.33 per share, with a dividend yield of 2.38%. This compares to the Banks - Northeast industry's yield of 1.7% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.96%.
Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.32 is up 5.6% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Webster Financial has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 12.76%. 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. Webster Financial's current payout ratio is 35%, meaning it paid out 35% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Looking at this fiscal year, WBS expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $4.16 per share, with earnings expected to increase 11.23% from the year ago period.
Investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons, from tax advantages and decreasing overall portfolio risk to considerably improving stock investing profits. 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 must be conscious 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 WBS is not only an attractive dividend play, but is also a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).