Insurers still a top choice for income seekers

Article Excerpt

The COVID-19 outbreak will slow the growth of these top insurance companies, particularly in Asia. The shock to their investment portfolios will also limit their earnings. However, both firms should rebound quickly once the outbreak eases. That should also let them keep raising your dividends. MANULIFE FINANCIAL CORP. $17 is a buy. With the stock (Toronto symbol MFC; Conservative-Growth Payer Portfolio; Finance sector; Shares outstanding: 1.9 billion; Market cap: $32.7 billion; Dividend yield: 6.6%; Dividend Sustainability Rating: Above Average; www.manulife.ca), investors gain exposure to Canada’s largest life insurance provider. It also sells other forms of insurance, including health, dental and travel plans, and offers mutual funds and investment management services. As of December 31, 2019, Manulife managed $1.2 trillion in assets. With March 2020 payment, Manulife handed investors a 12.0% dividend hike. The new annual rate of $1.12 a share gives you a high 6.6% yield. In the latest quarter, the company paid investors 34% of its earnings, well within its target range of 30% to…

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