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Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?

Zacks Equity Research

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

Johnson & Johnson in Focus

Based in New Brunswick, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is in the Medical sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 1.63%. The world's biggest maker of health care products is paying out a dividend of $0.95 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.56% compared to the Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry's yield of 2.61% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.77%.

In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $3.80 is up 1.3% from last year. In the past five-year period, Johnson & Johnson has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 6.21%. 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. Right now, Johnson & Johnson's payout ratio is 43%, which means it paid out 43% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

JNJ is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 is $9.08 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 4.61%.

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 JNJ 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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