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.
Black Hills in Focus
Based in Rapid City, Black Hills (BKH - Free Report) is in the Utilities sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 7.24%. The energy company is paying out a dividend of $0.54 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.54% compared to the Utility - Electric Power industry's yield of 2.69% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.75%.
Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $2.14 is up 4.4% from last year. Black Hills has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 6.21%. 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. Black Hills's current payout ratio is 58%. This means it paid out 58% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Earnings growth looks solid for BKH for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 is $3.71 per share, with earnings expected to increase 5.10% 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.
Big, established firms that have more secure profits are often seen as the best dividend options, but it's fairly uncommon to see high-growth businesses or tech start-ups offer their stockholders a dividend. Income investors have to be mindful of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. With that in mind, BKH 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).