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Why First Horizon National (FHN) 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 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.

First Horizon National in Focus

Headquartered in Memphis, First Horizon National (FHN - Free Report) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 19.76% so far this year. The bank holding company is paying out a dividend of $0.14 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.55% compared to the Banks - Southeast industry's yield of 1.86% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.96%.

In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.56 is up 16.7% from last year. In the past five-year period, First Horizon National has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 25.06%. 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. First Horizon's current payout ratio is 38%, meaning it paid out 38% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

FHN is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $1.57 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 11.35%.

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. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide 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. 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 FHN is not only an attractive dividend play, but also represents a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).


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