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Universal Truckload Services (ULH) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?

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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.

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.

Universal Truckload Services in Focus

Universal Truckload Services (ULH - Free Report) is headquartered in Warren, and is in the Transportation sector. The stock has seen a price change of 9.84% since the start of the year. The trucking and logistics company is paying out a dividend of $0.1 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.11% compared to the Transportation - Truck industry's yield of 0.41% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.92%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $0.42 is up 9.1% from last year. Universal Truckload Services has increased its dividend 1 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 9.58%. 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. Universal Truckload's current payout ratio is 18%, meaning it paid out 18% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

ULH is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $2.55 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 22.60%.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons, from tax advantages and decreasing overall portfolio risk to considerably improving stock investing profits. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide 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, ULH 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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