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M&T Bank (MTB) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?

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Getting big returns from financial portfolios, whether through stocks, bonds, ETFs, other securities, or a combination of all, is an investor's dream. But for income investors, generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments is your primary focus.

Cash flow can come from bond interest, interest from other types of investments, and of course, 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.

M&T Bank in Focus

M&T Bank (MTB - Free Report) is headquartered in Buffalo, and is in the Finance sector. The stock has seen a price change of 13.72% since the start of the year. The bank holding company is paying out a dividend of $1 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.46% compared to the Banks - Major Regional industry's yield of 2.77% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.87%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $4 is up 12.7% from last year. M&T Bank has increased its dividend 3 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 8.14%. 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. M&T Bank's current payout ratio is 29%. This means it paid out 29% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

MTB is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $14.42 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 12.13%.

Bottom Line

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, MTB 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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