Low p/e, high yields enhance their appeal

Article Excerpt

MANULIFE FINANCIAL CORP. $24 (Toronto symbol MFC; Conservative-Growth Payer Portfolio; Finance sector; Shares o/s: 2.0 billion; Market cap: $48.0 billion; Dividend yield: 4.2%; Dividend Sustainability Rating: Above Average; www.manulife.ca) is Canada’s largest life insurance provider. It also sells other forms of insurance, including health, dental and travel plans. That’s in addition to offering mutual funds and investment management services. As of March 31, 2019, Manulife had $1.1 trillion in assets under administration. Starting with the December 2018 dividend, Manulife raised that quarterly payment by 13.6%, to $0.25 a share from $0.22. The new annual rate of $1.00 yields a high 4.2%. In the latest quarter, the company’s dividend payout ratio was 32.9%—well within its target of 30% to 40%. In the quarter ended March 31, 2019, earnings jumped 18.8%, to $1.55 billion, or $0.76 a share, from $1.30 billion, or $0.64, a year earlier. The company’s earnings in Asia rose 20.6%, to $520 million from $431 million a year earlier. That was due to 12% annualized…

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