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This is Why Zions (ZION) is a Great Dividend Stock

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 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.

Zions in Focus

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Zions (ZION) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of -15.72% so far this year. The financial holding company is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.34 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.11%. This compares to the Banks - West industry's yield of 1.99% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.83%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.36 is up 6.3% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Zions has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 62.86%. 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. Right now, Zions's payout ratio is 31%, which means it paid out 31% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Earnings growth looks solid for ZION for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 is $4.40 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 1.62%.

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. But, not every company offers a quarterly payout.

High-growth firms or tech start-ups, for example, rarely provide their shareholders a dividend, while larger, more established companies that have more secure profits are often seen as the best dividend options. Income investors must be conscious of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. With that in mind, ZION 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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