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Are You Looking for a High-Growth Dividend Stock? National Fuel Gas (NFG) Could Be a Great Choice

Dividends are one of the best benefits to being a shareholder, but finding a great dividend stock is no easy task. Does National Fuel Gas (NFG) have what it takes?...

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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. However, when you're an income investor, your primary focus is generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments.

- Zacks

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.

National Fuel Gas in Focus

Headquartered in Williamsville, National Fuel Gas (NFG) is a Utilities stock that has seen a price change of 40.38% so far this year. The energy company is paying out a dividend of $0.46 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.15% compared to the Utility - Gas Distribution industry's yield of 3.17% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.33%.

In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.82 is up 1.1% from last year. National Fuel Gas has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis over the last 5 years for an average annual increase of 2.41%. 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. National Fuel Gas's current payout ratio is 49%, meaning it paid out 49% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, NFG expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $5.45 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 27.04%.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. 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. That said, they can take comfort from the fact that NFG is not only an attractive dividend play, but is also a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy).



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