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Are You Looking for a High-Growth Dividend Stock? Sempra (SRE) Could Be a Great Choice

Zacks Equity Research

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.

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

Sempra in Focus

Headquartered in San Diego, Sempra (SRE) is a Utilities stock that has seen a price change of -17.55% so far this year. The natural gas and electricity provider is paying out a dividend of $1.04 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.35% compared to the Utility - Gas Distribution industry's yield of 3.32% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.97%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $4.18 is up 8% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Sempra has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 8.56%. Any future dividend growth will depend on both earnings growth and the company's payout ratio; a payout ratio is the proportion of a firm's annual earnings per share that it pays out as a dividend. Sempra's current payout ratio is 58%. This means it paid out 58% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, SRE expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 is $7.30 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 7.67%.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons, from tax advantages and decreasing overall portfolio risk to considerably improving stock investing profits. 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 SRE 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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