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 account for significant portions of long-term returns, with dividend contributions exceeding one-third of total returns in many cases.
Principal Financial in Focus
Based in Des Moines, Principal Financial (PFG - Free Report) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 30.93%. Currently paying a dividend of $0.55 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 3.8%. In comparison, the Financial - Investment Management industry's yield is 2.79%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.89%.
Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $2.20 is up 4.8% from last year. Principal Financial has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 11.52%. 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. Principal Financial's current payout ratio is 38%. This means it paid out 38% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Looking at this fiscal year, PFG expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $5.86 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 5.88%.
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. That said, they can take comfort from the fact that PFG is not only an attractive dividend play, but also represents a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).