Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. 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 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.
Kforce in Focus
Based in Tampa, Kforce (KFRC - Free Report) is in the Business Services sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 14.78%. The staffing company is paying out a dividend of $0.18 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.03% compared to the Staffing Firms industry's yield of 1.28% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.99%.
Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.72 is up 20% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Kforce has increased its dividend 3 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 10.38%. 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. Kforce's current payout ratio is 31%, meaning it paid out 31% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
KFRC is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $2.38 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 3.48%.
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.
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. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. With that in mind, KFRC 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).