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
Headquartered in Des Moines, Principal Financial (PFG) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 1.8% so far this year. Currently paying a dividend of $0.55 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 3.93%. In comparison, the Financial - Investment Management industry's yield is 2.21%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.78%.
Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $2.20 is up 0.9% from last year. In the past five-year period, Principal Financial has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 10.63%. 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 39%. This means it paid out 39% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Earnings growth looks solid for PFG for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 is $6.06 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 8.60%.
From greatly improving stock investing profits and reducing overall portfolio risk to providing tax advantages, investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide 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. 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).