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Highwoods Properties (HIW) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?

Dividends are one of the best benefits to being a shareholder, but finding a great dividend stock is no easy task. Does Highwoods Properties (HIW) hav...

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Getting big returns from financial portfolios, whether through stocks, bonds, ETFs, other securities, or a combination of all, is an investor's dream. But when you're an income investor, your primary focus is generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments.

- Zacks

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.

Highwoods Properties in Focus

Highwoods Properties (HIW) is headquartered in Raleigh, and is in the Finance sector. The stock has seen a price change of 15.29% since the start of the year. The real estate investment trust is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.5 per share, with a dividend yield of 4.38%. This compares to the REIT and Equity Trust - Other industry's yield of 2.9% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.39%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $2 is up 4.2% from last year. Highwoods Properties has increased its dividend 4 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 2.74%. 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, Highwoods Properties's payout ratio is 54%, which means it paid out 54% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Earnings growth looks solid for HIW for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $3.69 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 3.07%.

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. However, not all companies offer 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. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. With that in mind, HIW 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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