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SunTrust (STI) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?

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 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 make up large portions of long-term returns, and in many cases, dividend contributions surpass one-third of total returns.

SunTrust in Focus

SunTrust (STI) is headquartered in Atlanta, and is in the Finance sector. The stock has seen a price change of 20.38% since the start of the year. The holding company for SunTrust Bank is paying out a dividend of $0.5 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.29% compared to the Banks - Major Regional industry's yield of 3.17% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.97%.

In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $2 is up 11.1% from last year. SunTrust has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 26.85%. 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. SunTrust's current payout ratio is 38%, meaning it paid out 38% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, STI expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $5.83 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 1.57%.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide 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. 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, STI 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).

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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.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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