Shares of steelmaker Insteel Industries (IIIN) - Get Report will begin trading ex-dividend on Wednesday, the day management at the company will finalize the roster of shareholders to whom it will pay dividends this quarter. To qualify for a payout, investors must own shares of the specialist in concrete-reinforcing products on or before that date. Investors of record as of Dec. 11 will receive a their dividend payments on Dec. 29, 2015.
Based in Monday's opening price of around $24, Insteel Industries' 3-cent quarterly dividend yields about 0.5% annually. Right away, I will concede its yield -- at a quarter of the average yield paid out by companies in the S&P 500 (SPX) index -- is not breathtaking. And the company has paid that same 3-cent quarterly dividend since 2013. But owing to its strong cash position of $33.26 million with zero debt, the company's board recently announced a special cash dividend of $1.00 per share, payable on Jan. 8, 2016, to shareholders of record as of Dec. 11.
At the same time, there are tons of reasons to consider holding these shares beyond its dividend. Mount Airy, N.C.-based Insteel specializes in steel wire reinforcing products -- the type used in commercial buildings and various public structures, including roads. The company also manufactures pre-stressed steel strands welded wire, and engineered structural mesh sold to manufacturers of concrete products that are used in nonresidential construction.
Owing to weak commodity steel prices, which have sent the Market Vectors Steel Index ETF Fund (SLX) - Get Report plummeting more than 38% on the year, revenue and profits have been hard to come by for companies tied to steel. But Insteel, whose fiscal 2016 profits (ending Sept. 2016) are projected to climb almost 50%, has been the exception. It operates a highly profitable business, generating more than $35 million in operating cash flow as of its fiscal fourth quarter, up some 23%.
And while IIIN stock -- up just 1.82% in 2015 -- hasn't traded as high as investors may have had hoped, momentum has begun to pick up. These shares have surged some 40% just in the past three months. And it would seem, based on its consensus buy rating and average analysts 12-month price target of $30 -- 25% above current levels of $24 -- investors should expect the stock to continue to climb.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.