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Are You Looking for a High-Growth Dividend Stock? Union Pacific (UNP) Could Be a Great Choice

Zacks Equity Research

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

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.

Union Pacific in Focus

Based in Omaha, Union Pacific (UNP) is in the Transportation sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of 20.99%. The railroad is paying out a dividend of $0.88 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.1% compared to the Transportation - Rail industry's yield of 1.21% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.93%.

In terms of dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $3.52 is up 15% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Union Pacific has increased its dividend 4 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 11.97%. 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. Union Pacific's current payout ratio is 43%. This means it paid out 43% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Earnings growth looks solid for UNP for this fiscal year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 is $9.05 per share, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 14.41%.

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.

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. With that in mind, UNP 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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