Dividend Achievers Massively Hiking Their Dividends

The following is an excerpt from 7 Dividend Achievers With Big Income Potential

There is an old Wall Street maxim that the safest dividend is the one that’s just been raised. Which is why if you’re not familiar with Dividend Achievers, you should be.

You can always find that occasional company that continued raising its dividend right up until it cut it (Kinder Morgan in 2015). But generally speaking, it’s safe to say that a dividend stock aggressively raising its payout is a healthy company and one that is justifiably confident about its future.

Earnings per share can be aggressively manipulated, as can reported revenues. Even the cash flow statement can be suspect because it ultimately pulls most of its key data points from the income statement, which can be a work of creative fiction.

Paying a dividend requires actual cash on hand. And a dividend hike implies that management is confident that there will be a lot more cash coming down the pipeline to support a higher dividend in the quarters ahead.

But even when it comes to dividends, you have to look out for chicanery and focus on quality. That means paying the dividend out of real profits and cash flows, not debt or new share issuance. As forensic accountant John Del Vecchio, co-manager of the AdvisorShares Ranger Equity Bear ETF (HDGE), says, “Dividends are a distribution of profits; a way for a company to reward its patient shareholders. But a dividend paid from debt or equity proceeds isn’t a dividend at all, but rather a return of capital. Don’t be fooled by a company returning your own money to you while calling it a dividend.”

Today, we’re going to take a look at Dividend Achievers – companies with a history of raising their annual dividends for a minimum of 10 consecutive years – that aren’t just providing token upticks. The idea is that we’re limiting our pool to stable companies with a long history of safely delivering the goods, but that also are well-positioned for growth in the immediate future.

 

Toro Company

Toro Company (TTC), a maker of lawn irrigation systems and high-end riding lawnmowers, might not have a particularly sexy or interesting business, but the industry is a resilient one. Toro has raised its dividend every year since 2003 – the one asterisk is that it kept the quarterly payout level in 2008 amid the market meltdown, but paid more on an annual basis than it did the year prior.

At the end of 2017, Toro raised its dividend by 14%. This followed a nearly 17% dividend hike the year before. Over the past 10 years, the stock has raised its dividend at an annual clip of nearly 20%. The 1.3% current yield might not be exceptionally high, but whatever the stock lacks in yield it more than compensates with dividend growth.

In Toro, you’re getting an aggressive dividend grower backed by strong demographic trends. With the Millennials starting to nest, that high dividend growth should continue for a while.

“As Millennials move through their adult lives, they’ll hit all the familiar milestones, forming families, having children, and putting down roots,” says Rodney Johnson, co-founder of economic forecasting firm Dent Research. “The transition will add growth to our economy as they fundamentally change their spending, moving from lattes to lawn care. Nothing says ‘I’m a homeowner and I’m proud!’ quite like lawn equipment!”

To read the remainder of this article, please see  7 Dividend Achievers With Big Income Potential

This article first appeared on Sizemore Insights as Dividend Achievers Massively Hiking Their Dividends

Don’t Invest Like Stalin

I always try to read everything that Jeremy Grantham’s GMO publishes, but I somehow missed this one until it was republished on Meb Faber’s Idea Farm. Good stuff: Don’t Act Like Stalin.

Lot’s of good takeaways (as always). GMO’s main point was that chasing recent performance is a game you can’t win. All good strategies (and good managers) have periods of outperformance and underperformance.

But while chasing performance is a terrible move, so is sticking with a bad strategy or a strategy that is likely to be a lousy fit in a given macro environment (i.e. owning bonds in an inflationary environment or owning gold and commodities in a severe disinflationary environment).

This is where communication is important. Talk to your manager and ask them to explain their strategy. If it’s outperforming, ask them why. If they can’t explain it (or if they get excessively cocky about it), I’d question how sustainable the performance is. You might want to bank your profits and move on.

Likewise, if they’re having a bad year, ask them why. If they can’t explain it, they get overly defensive or their answer just doesn’t make sense, don’t hesitate to cut them loose. But if their strategy makes intuitive sense to you and it offers diversification alongside other strategies you’re running (that great alchemy of uncorrelated returns!), then give the manager a little leeway.

Not for the manager’s benefit, of course. His or her wellbeing is not your concern. But if you employed them for a reason (i.e. their strategy tends to zig while the rest of your portfolio zags) then you should hang on long enough to get the expected benefit.

As a case in point, Grantham and his team lost half their assets under management in the late 1990s when value lagged growth. But Gratham absolutely killed it in the years following the tech crash… and his former clients that bailed on him missed out.

 

 

This article first appeared on Sizemore Insights as Don’t Invest Like Stalin

Prospect Capital’s Valuation Still In the Dumps

Prospect Capital’s (PSEC) latest earnings release didn’t do much to improve investor sentiment toward the stock. It remains mired in trading range and sits are barely 70% of book value.

PSEC has long been accused of being a little more aggressive than its peers in valuing its assets. But even so, at these levels it is safe to say that Prospect is trading at a deep discount to the value of its underlying portfolio.

We all know it’s a tough market for business development companies. Funding costs are rising at a time when yields on investment are falling due an glut of capital in the space.

So, here’s a novel idea for management: Halt all new investment and instead plow the proceeds into share repurchases. 

I’m not joking. Prospect shares yield 11% at current prices, which is about in line with its new originations. But it also trades at a 28% discount to book value and is diversified. So why accept the risk of a new origination if you can simply reinvest in your own shares and be done?

 

 

This article first appeared on Sizemore Insights as Prospect Capital’s Valuation Still In the Dumps

LyondellBasell: THIS Is What Buybacks Are Supposed to Look Like

Stock buybacks get a bad reputation — and justifiably so. It seems that for most companaies, a share repurchase is little more than an expensive mop to soak up share dilution from executive stock options or other share-based compensation.

So, it’s refreshing to see a company like LyondellBasell Industries (LYB). When Lyondell announces a share buyback, they mean it. The company has reduced its share count by about 10% per year for the past three years while also raising its dividend by nearly 20% per year.

That’s a company that takes care of its shareholders.

I recently added LyondellBasel to my Dividend Growth portfolio.

Disclosures: Long LYB

This article first appeared on Sizemore Insights as LyondellBasell: THIS Is What Buybacks Are Supposed to Look Like

Take Your Losses Early and Often

With market volatility picking up this past week, now is as good a time as any to review why it’s important to take your losses early.

Portfolio LossGain Required to Break Even
(10%)11%
(20%)25%
(30%)43%
(40%)67%
(50%)100%
(60%)150%
(70%)233%
(80%)400%
(90%)900%
(97%)3,233%

If you lose 10%-20% in a trade, it’s not that hard to recover. It only takes 11% – 25% to get back to where you started.

But if you lose 50%, you need 100% returns to get back to break even. Or if you lose 97% — as Bill Ackman recently did in Valeant Pharmaceuticals — you’d need a ridiculous 3,233% on your next trade just to get back to zero.

I have a select few stocks in my portfolio that I’m truly willing to buy and hold, tolerating whatever volatility the market throws at me. As an example, I own some shares of Realty Income (O) that I will never sell. I’m reinvesting the dividends and letting them compound, and I’m willing to sit through a significant drawdown.

But for the lion’s share of my portfolio, I take my losses early. I’ve taken enough losses over the years to learn that lesson the hard way…

 

 

This article first appeared on Sizemore Insights as Take Your Losses Early and Often