Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. However, 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 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.
BancFirst in Focus
BancFirst (BANF - Free Report) is headquartered in Oklahoma City, and is in the Finance sector. The stock has seen a price change of 6.09% since the start of the year. Currently paying a dividend of $0.3 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 2.27%. In comparison, the Banks - Southwest industry's yield is 1.4%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.96%.
Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.20 is up 17.6% from last year. In the past five-year period, BancFirst has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 13.22%. 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. BancFirst's current payout ratio is 30%, meaning it paid out 30% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Looking at this fiscal year, BANF expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $3.99 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 4.45%.
Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. But, not every company offers a quarterly payout.
High-growth firms or tech start-ups, for example, rarely provide their shareholders a dividend, while larger, more established companies that have more secure profits are often seen as the best dividend options. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. With that in mind, BANF presents a compelling investment opportunity; it's not only an attractive dividend play, but the stock also boasts a strong Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).