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.
While cash flow can come from bond interest or interest from other types of investments, income investors hone in on 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 tha t dividends account for significant portions of long-term returns, with dividend contributions exceeding one-third of total returns in many cases.
American Assets Trust in Focus
Based in San Diego, American Assets Trust (AAT) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 8.49%. Currently paying a dividend of $0.28 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 2.57%. In comparison, the REIT and Equity Trust - Retail industry's yield is 5%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.93%.
Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.12 is up 2.8% from last year. Over the last 5 years, American Assets Trust has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 5.19%. Looking ahead, future dividend growth will be dependent on earnings growth and payout ratio, which is the proportion of a company's annual earnings per share that it pays out as a dividend. Right now, American Assets Trust's payout ratio is 52%, which means it paid out 52% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
AAT is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $2.18 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 4.31%.
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.
For instance, it's a rare occurrence when a tech start-up or big growth business offers their shareholders a dividend. It's more common to see larger companies with more established profits give out dividends. 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 AAT is not only an attractive dividend play, but is also a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.