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

Zacks Equity Research
·3-min read

Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. But 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.

Chesapeake Utilities in Focus

Chesapeake Utilities (CPK) is headquartered in Dover, and is in the Utilities sector. The stock has seen a price change of -8.55% since the start of the year. The energy and utility company is paying out a dividend of $0.44 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.01% compared to the Utility - Gas Distribution industry's yield of 3.41% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.62%.

Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.76 is up 11% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Chesapeake Utilities has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 9.77%. 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. Right now, Chesapeake Utilities's payout ratio is 46%, which means it paid out 46% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

Looking at this fiscal year, CPK expects solid earnings growth. 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. However, not all companies offer 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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