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Why Zions (ZION) is a Great Dividend Stock Right Now

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All investors love getting big returns from their portfolio, whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities. 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.

Zions in Focus

Zions (ZION - Free Report) is headquartered in Salt Lake City, and is in the Finance sector. The stock has seen a price change of 8.42% since the start of the year. The financial holding company is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.3 per share, with a dividend yield of 2.72%. This compares to the Banks - West industry's yield of 2.06% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.96%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.20 is up 15.4% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Zions has increased its dividend 4 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 59.52%. 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. Zions's current payout ratio is 30%, meaning it paid out 30% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, ZION expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $4.49 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 10.05%.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. However, not all companies offer 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, ZION 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).


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