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This is Why 3M (MMM) is a Great Dividend Stock

Dividends are one of the best benefits to being a shareholder, but finding a great dividend stock is no easy task. Does 3M (MMM) have what it takes? L...

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

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.

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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.

3M in Focus

3M (MMM) is headquartered in St Paul, and is in the Conglomerates sector. The stock has seen a price change of 11.5% since the start of the year. Currently paying a dividend of $1.48 per share, the company has a dividend yield of 3.04%. In comparison, the Diversified Operations industry's yield is 0.28%, while the S&P 500's yield is 1.37%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $5.92 is up 0.7% from last year. Over the last 5 years, 3M has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 6.85%. 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, 3M's payout ratio is 58%, which means it paid out 58% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, MMM expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $10.11 per share, with earnings expected to increase 15.68% from the year ago period.

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. 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. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. With that in mind, MMM 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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