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 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 make up large portions of long-term returns, and in many cases, dividend contributions surpass one-third of total returns.
Lincoln Electric Holdings in Focus
Lincoln Electric Holdings (LECO - Free Report) is headquartered in Cleveland, and is in the Industrial Products sector. The stock has seen a price change of -2.74% since the start of the year. Currently paying a dividend of $0.47 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 2.45%. In comparison, the Manufacturing - Tools & Related Products industry's yield is 1.87%, while the S&P 500's yield is 2.03%.
In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.88 is up 14.6% from last year. Lincoln Electric Holdings has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 13.25%. 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. Lincoln Electric's current payout ratio is 38%, meaning it paid out 38% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Looking at this fiscal year, LECO expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $5.22 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 8.30%.
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.
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. With that in mind, LECO 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).