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Zions (ZION) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?

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 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.

Zions in Focus

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Zions (ZION) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of -9.46% so far this year. Currently paying a dividend of $0.34 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 2.89%. In comparison, the Banks - West industry's yield is 2%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.75%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.36 is up 6.3% from last year. In the past five-year period, 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. Zions's current payout ratio is 31%, meaning it paid out 31% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

ZION is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 is $4.41 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 1.85%.

Bottom Line

From greatly improving stock investing profits and reducing overall portfolio risk to providing tax advantages, investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide a quarterly payout.

Big, established firms that have more secure profits are often seen as the best dividend options, but it's fairly uncommon to see high-growth businesses or tech start-ups offer their stockholders a dividend. 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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