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Why Kroger (KR) is a Great Dividend Stock Right Now

Whether it's through stocks, bonds, ETFs, or other types of securities, all investors love seeing their portfolios score big returns. But for income investors, generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments is your primary focus.

Cash flow can come from bond interest, interest from other types of investments, and of course, 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 make up large portions of long-term returns, and in many cases, dividend contributions surpass one-third of total returns.

Kroger in Focus

Based in Cincinnati, Kroger (KR) is in the Retail-Wholesale sector, and so far this year, shares have seen a price change of -1.24%. The supermarket chain is paying out a dividend of $0.26 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 2.33% compared to the Retail - Supermarkets industry's yield of 1.76% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.73%.

Looking at dividend growth, the company's current annualized dividend of $1.04 is up 33.3% from last year. Over the last 5 years, Kroger has increased its dividend 5 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 13.15%. 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. Kroger's current payout ratio is 21%. This means it paid out 21% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.

KR is expecting earnings to expand this fiscal year as well. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 is $4.04 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 9.78%.

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. However, not all companies offer 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. During periods of rising interest rates, income investors must be mindful that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle. That said, they can take comfort from the fact that KR is not only an attractive dividend play, but is also a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).


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