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 account for significant portions of long-term returns, with dividend contributions exceeding one-third of total returns in many cases.
Lincoln National in Focus
Headquartered in Radnor, Lincoln National (LNC) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 12.06% so far this year. The insurance and retirement business is paying out a dividend of $0.37 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.57% compared to the Insurance - Life Insurance industry's yield of 0.72% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.91%.
Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.48 is up 12.1% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Lincoln National has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 18.55%. 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. Lincoln National's current payout ratio is 16%. This means it paid out 16% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Earnings growth looks solid for LNC for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $9.30 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 9.67%.
Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. But, not every company offers 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 have to be mindful of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. With that in mind, LNC 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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