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Why Washington Federal (WAFD) is a Top Dividend Stock for Your Portfolio

Dividends are one of the best benefits to being a shareholder, but finding a great dividend stock is no easy task. Does Washington Federal (WAFD) have what it takes? Let's...

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

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.

- 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 account for significant portions of long-term returns, with dividend contributions exceeding one-third of total returns in many cases.

Washington Federal in Focus

Washington Federal (WAFD) is headquartered in Seattle, and is in the Finance sector. The stock has seen a price change of 25.02% since the start of the year. The holding company for Washington Federal Savings Bank is paying out a dividend of $0.23 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.86% compared to the Banks - West industry's yield of 2.18% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.36%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $0.92 is up 1.1% from last year. In the past five-year period, Washington Federal has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 11.99%. 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. Washington Federal's current payout ratio is 38%. This means it paid out 38% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Earnings growth looks solid for WAFD for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $2.83 per share, with earnings expected to increase 18.41% 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. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide a quarterly payout.

For instance, it's a rare occurrence when a tech start-up or big growth business offers their shareholders a dividend. It's more common to see larger companies with more established profits give out dividends. Income investors have to be mindful of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. With that in mind, WAFD presents a compelling investment opportunity; it's not only an attractive dividend play, but the stock also boasts a strong Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy).



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