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.
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.
EastGroup Properties in Focus
Based in Ridgeland, EastGroup Properties (EGP - Free Report) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of -19.73%. The real estate investment trust is paying out a dividend of $0.75 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.82% compared to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 5.25% and the S&P 500's yield of 2.15%.
In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $3 is up 2% from last year. In the past five-year period, EastGroup Properties has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 6%. 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. Right now, EastGroup Properties's payout ratio is 59%, which means it paid out 59% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
EGP is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 is $5.17 per share, with earnings expected to increase 3.82% 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. However, not all companies offer 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. Income investors must be conscious of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. With that in mind, EGP 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).