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Farmers & Merchants Bancorp Inc. (FMAO) is a Top Dividend Stock Right Now: Should You Buy?

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

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.

Farmers & Merchants Bancorp Inc. In Focus

Farmers & Merchants Bancorp Inc. (FMAO) is headquartered in Archbold, and is in the Finance sector. The stock has seen a price change of -4.17% since the start of the year. The company is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.17 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.09%. This compares to the Banks - Northeast industry's yield of 1.94% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.29%.

In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $0.68 is up 3% from last year. In the past five-year period, Farmers & Merchants Bancorp Inc. has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 9.71%. Looking ahead, future dividend growth will be dependent on earnings growth and payout ratio, which is the proportion of a company's annual earnings per share that it pays out as a dividend. Right now, Farmers & Merchants Bancorp Inc.'s payout ratio is 39%, which means it paid out 39% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, FMAO expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 is $1.82 per share, with earnings expected to increase 8.33% from the year ago period.

Bottom Line

Investors like dividends for a variety of different reasons, from tax advantages and decreasing overall portfolio risk to considerably improving stock investing profits. 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, FMAO 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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