Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. 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 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.
AES in Focus
AES (AES - Free Report) is headquartered in Arlington, and is in the Utilities sector. The stock has seen a price change of 11.83% since the start of the year. The power company is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.14 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.38%. This compares to the Utility - Electric Power industry's yield of 2.86% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.9%.
Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $0.55 is up 5.8% from last year. In the past five-year period, AES has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 16.28%. Future dividend growth will depend on earnings growth as well as payout ratio, which is the proportion of a company's annual earnings per share that it pays out as a dividend. Right now, AES's payout ratio is 44%, which means it paid out 44% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
AES is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $1.34 per share, with earnings expected to increase 8.06% from the year ago period.
Investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons, from tax advantages and decreasing overall portfolio risk to considerably improving stock investing profits. 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. That said, they can take comfort from the fact that AES is not only an attractive dividend play, but is also a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).