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Why Chesapeake Utilities (CPK) is a Top Dividend Stock for Your Portfolio

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.

While cash flow can come from bond interest or interest from other types of investments, income investors hone in on dividends. A dividend is that coveted distribution of a company's earnings paid out to shareholders, and investors often view it by its dividend yield, a metric that measures the 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.

Chesapeake Utilities in Focus

Based in Dover, Chesapeake Utilities (CPK) is in the Utilities sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of -21.12%. The energy and utility company is paying out a dividend of $0.44 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.33% compared to the Utility - Gas Distribution industry's yield of 3.63% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.72%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.76 is up 11% from last year. In the past five-year period, Chesapeake Utilities has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 9.44%. 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, Chesapeake Utilities's payout ratio is 46%, which means it paid out 46% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

CPK is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 is $4.08 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 11.48%.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for many reasons; they greatly improve stock investing profits, decrease overall portfolio risk, and carry tax advantages, among others. 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, CPK 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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