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Why Sun Life (SLF) is a Top Dividend Stock for Your Portfolio

Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. 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 make up large portions of long-term returns, and in many cases, dividend contributions surpass one-third of total returns.

Sun Life in Focus

Based in Toronto, Sun Life (SLF) is in the Finance sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of -10.81%. The financial services company is paying out a dividend of $0.37 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.97% compared to the Insurance - Life Insurance industry's yield of 0.77% and the S&P 500's yield of 2%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.46 is up 8.6% from last year. Sun Life has increased its dividend 3 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 2.67%. 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. Sun Life's current payout ratio is 41%, meaning it paid out 41% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, SLF expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 is $3.58 per share, with earnings expected to increase 11.88% from the year ago period.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. However, not all companies offer 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 SLF is not only an attractive dividend play, but also represents 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.


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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