Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. But when you're an income investor, your primary focus is generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments.
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.
Kroger in Focus
Kroger (KR) is headquartered in Cincinnati, and is in the Retail-Wholesale sector. The stock has seen a price change of 6.23% since the start of the year. The supermarket chain is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.26 per share, with a dividend yield of 2.16%. This compares to the Retail - Supermarkets industry's yield of 1.88% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.6%.
Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.04 is up 33.3% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Kroger has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 13.21%. 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. Kroger's current payout ratio is 21%, meaning it paid out 21% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.
Looking at this fiscal year, KR expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 is $4.06 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 10.33%.
Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide 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, KR 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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