Why Manulife Financial (MFC) is a Great Dividend Stock Right Now
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 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.
Manulife Financial in Focus
Based in Toronto, Manulife Financial (MFC) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 27.56%. Currently paying a dividend of $0.19 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 4.19%. In comparison, the Insurance - Life Insurance industry's yield is 0.72%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.88%.
Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.76 is up 7.6% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Manulife Financial has increased its dividend 4 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 9.08%. 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. Manulife's current payout ratio is 34%, meaning it paid out 34% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Earnings growth looks solid for MFC for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $2.21 per share, with earnings expected to increase 4.74% from the year ago period.
From greatly improving stock investing profits and reducing overall portfolio risk to providing tax advantages, investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons. 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. With that in mind, MFC 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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