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  • IT news
    IT news, Июль, 26

    In a note to investors last week, Wedbush analysts paid Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) the compliment of saying it “has a virtually insurmountable competitive advantage,” which may have gotten some investors thinking of where they’ve heard that term before.

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  • IT news
  • IT news
    IT news, Март, 8

    Below is a tool used by the Benzinga News Desk each trading day -- it's a look at everything happening in the market, in five minutes. Apply for daily AM access by emailing tip@benzinga.com.

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  • IT news
    IT news, Июнь, 27

    Summary I wrote an article on why I was selling my Apple shares and it sparked a debate that still lingers. Is Apple a growth stock, an income stock, or is it destined to become a dividend aristocrat? As a DGI approach, I made my case as to why I was selling AAPL in favor of AT&T.

    This is the second article of this series, which will highlight one or two comments from around all of Seeking Alpha that will help everyone engage together in the process OF Seeking Alpha. Here is last week's article to review in case you missed it.

    The Premise

    The goal of the authors here is to present an opinion that is backed up by supportive facts or some evidence, and create a thesis to explain an actionable idea for themselves and perhaps for many other investors to consider as they seek alpha.

    This is the second article in my collaboration with Seeking Alpha to engage with all readers and commenters and tap the entire community to help everyone become better investors.

    In April, I wrote this article that quickly became a lightning rod for all sorts of investors on why I was selling my small amount of shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to purchase more shares of AT&T (NYSE:T).

    Not only did the article receive tens of thousands of page views, but it also drew over 500 comments from the SA community, and all were of various opinions of course, and some even told me how dumb I was. I won't argue that point because I can be as dumb as the next guy, but let me tell you what I did.

    The FMBP Is ALL About Immediate Income

    The Frothy Market Beginners Portfolio consists of the following stocks as of today: Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), AT&T, Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Con Edison (NYSE:ED), Apple, and General Electric (NYSE:GE), HCP Inc. (NYSE:HCP), Ford (NYSE:F), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Old Republic International (NYSE:ORI), and Starwood Property Trust (NYSE:STWD).

    After making a few changes, the portfolio chart now looks like this:

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  • IT news
  • IT news
    IT news, Июнь, 24

    Summary TARP was the very first portfolio I developed for Seeking Alpha, and has been exclusive to email subscribers. It is making an appearance for everyone based on last month's update to show how this portfolio has developed, and if followed by email subscribers, has done quite well. I combined the "Young & Restless Portfolio" (remember that one?) as I moved gains into my main DGI portfolio.

    In an effort to drive home some points about dividend growth investing, I am letting my longest-running portfolio here on Seeking Alpha make an appearance. For the last 2 years, it has been available for email subscribers only, and since this is last month's review, I wanted to show all of my followers here what they can expect after this year's email service ends (December 31st, 2015).

    All of my favorite dividend stocks are here: Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), AT&T (NYSE:T), General Electric (NYSE:GE), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Realty Income (NYSE:O), Altria (NYSE:MO), Con Edison (NYSE:ED), General Motors (NYSE:GM), Ford (NYSE:F), as well as an armful of others that round out this wonderful portfolio, plus a surprise or two.

    (click to enlarge)
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  • IT news
    IT news, Июнь, 22

    summary Six months into my DG50 project, the portfolio has delivered outstanding dividend growth. Wisconsin energy is one of the standouts that has helped the portfolio to an 8% income gain since inception. Like all quality DGI portfolios, the DG50 shrugs off Fed speculation and macroeconomic events.

    Most shareholders were quite pleased in December when Wisconsin Energy (NYSE:WEC) declared an 8.3% dividend increase. Then, last week, the company announced yet another 8.3% hike as part of its merger deal with Integrys Energy (NYSE:TEG).

    The end result: a year-over-year increase from 39 cents per quarter to 45.75 cents. That 17.3% jump is impressive for any company, let alone for a "boring" utility. WEC has raised its dividend 12 straight years, including several double-digit hikes, and company executives have indicated that more aggressive increases are in the offing.

    Such a commitment to income-seeking shareholders is why Wisconsin Energy is the largest utility position in my personal portfolio. And it's also why WEC is one of only four utes in the Dividend Growth 50.

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  • IT news
    IT news, Июнь, 22

    Summary The sharp contrast between growth investors and income investors does not need to contentious. As a community, if we come together and share our opinions, all of us will become better investors. What separates Seeking Alpha from other investment websites is the "family" of participants who willingly help our "community" as a whole.

    Much has been written here on Seeking Alpha that has gone well beyond the usual stock picking websites that flood the internet these days. If I had to point to ONE reason that SA offers far greater investor insight, it has to be our family of readers and commenters who make up the vast majority of what SA offers to everyone, for free.

    Every subscriber here and every investor has their own idea as to what will work to make more money in the markets and secure a better financial future. The two categories that seemingly are the most contentious are between those who invest for growth and those who invest for income (aka DGI'ers). While it may appear that these two strategies have different goals, it actually is a personal choice. The style an investor ultimately chooses is the one that's best for their needs, goals and desires. Neither corners the market on being the best of all worlds, and nothing can crystallize that more than a wonderful comment from a Seeking Alpha subscriber and commenter.

    An Article That Opened Up Many Distinctions

    This article brought out the best (and worst) of both investment worlds; growth versus income and the plethora of comments that were embraced by our community in ways that showed the difference of opinions most investors have.

    In my new series of articles, I will select one or two comments from our family here at SA that offer the most helpful insight, in my opinion of course, for our community at large. To me, and most other members here, the comment threads for each article are the backbone and the lifeblood of the SA community, and more often than not are of greater help than the article itself. Each comment gives meaning to so many others and many should be duly noted for that.

    In this particular article, it was argued by the author that dividends are not that reliable. I found the following comment to be spot on, and should be a gateway into further discussions and dialogues:



    Thanks for your article and critical view on DGI. Assuming that you are 100% correct with your analysis and conclusions, my question to you is: if "dividends are not reliable" what is reliable? What type of investment in your opinion would offer more reliable long-term return and growing income at the same time?

    I'm not idealizing DGI and do not view this strategy as a perpetuum mobile, as some Seeking Alpha readers may tend to think of dividend-paying stocks. As we all know, nothing is certain in this world (except taxes and death). However this strategy offers very important elements that makes it very attractive for DGI investors: GROWTH of principal and GROWTH of income. Whether or not the growth of income will be always sufficient to beat inflation, is a question that definitely needs to be discussed. But I'm not aware of any other investment strategy that would offer similar characteristics.

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  • IT news
  • IT news
    IT news, Июнь, 11

    Summary Lessons learned about dividend growth stocks from the Great Recession. Should people be afraid to invest for fear of a market crash? Not all stock drops are the same. When valuation is sound, a margin of safety is created.

    Ever since I first got interested in investing in stocks circa 1965, I have been confronted with a constant and persistent admonition about the next pending market crash. In those early days, I contributed much of the negativity toward stocks to a lingering overhang from the Great Depression. Many of the people I was talking with had been literally traumatized by stern warnings from their parents or grandparents about the risk of investing in the stock market. Stocks were too risky for prudent people to invest in, and serious money should never be invested there.

    Now after working in the industry some five decades later, I still find that the attitudes of many investors have not changed very much. Of course, the Great Recession of 2008 has served to perpetuate the negativity toward stocks in these more modern times. It seems the moniker that stocks are a risky asset class is firmly ingrained in the psyche of many people. Rarely a day goes by without my coming across an article, report or comment suggesting that the next market crash is imminent or just around the corner.

    Making matters worse, at least from my perspective, is the litany of reasons offered as to why the market will surely and very soon collapse. To me, those reasons seem always to be related to exogenous forces that do not directly relate to a given company's (stock's) specific future business prospects. Of course, it's alleged that they will or do, but I find them usually a matter of opinion and not supported by actual facts.

    Typically, these external factors are argued with predictions relating to esoteric discussions about the effects of Zirp, QE number something or other, debt levels, the future rise of interest rates, etc. Most unfortunately, they are delivered with the undertone suggesting a major economic collapse, and of course the demise of the value of our stock portfolios. Moreover, these predictions of impending doom imply, although they rarely say so directly, that common stock values are surely headed to zero. In other words, if we don't heed their stern warnings, we are destined to lose all of our money.

    However, somehow common stocks, especially high-quality dividend growth stocks, continue to provide prudent investors with solid long-term returns and a growing dividend income stream. The occasional disruption does come along from time to time, but rarely lasts as long as people fear. Moreover, these disruptions do not hurt prudent levelheaded investors, but only those that are fearful. In other words, smart investors persevere and hold on, and only those willing to sell perfectly valuable assets for less than their worth get hurt - in the long run.

    Fellow Seeking Alpha Author Chowder recently penned a terrific article titled "Dividend Growth Investing Requires Perseverance" that speaks loudly to the point I was making in the above paragraph. If you haven't read it, I highly suggest that you do. I especially enjoyed his sharing of one of my favorite Calvin Coolidge quotes, and I repeat it here:

    "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." - Calvin Coolidge.

    However, as much as I admire the sentiment offered in Chowder's article and as much as I believe in the validity of the Calvin Coolidge quote, I do feel compelled to offer a qualifier. Persistence is certainly a powerful and salient attribute to embrace - especially for retired investors. On the other hand, I also believe that it must be "intelligent" perseverance.

    As it relates specifically to investing in dividend growth stocks, I refer to it as "intelligent patience." In other words, perseverance and patience become intelligent when it is founded on sound and rational principles. Holding on to a lost cause turns persistence into mere stubbornness. Behaving in that way usually leads to a bad outcome. In contrast, expressing bravery (patience and persistence) to a worthy cause will lead to victory and success.

    This then begs the question: When investing in common stocks, when and how can you determine that the cause is worthy, and therefore, validate the value and intelligence of being persistent and patient? The answer is quite simple and is revealed by what you focus on. When you are only focused on stock price, you can be easily misled into making horrific investing mistakes. A dropping stock price engenders fear, which as we all know is a powerful emotion that can make smart people do dumb things like selling a valuable business at the bottom of a market for less than it's worth. This is reactionary behavior rather than intelligent behavior.

    What The Great Recession Taught Me About Dividend Growth Investing

    Most investors take their lead from stock prices. If they buy a stock and it goes up, they consider it a good stock. If they buy a stock and it goes down, it's a bad stock. In all fairness, for most investors, stock prices are all they have to judge their decisions by. However, there is a primary reason why I started this section by discussing stock prices. Investors whose focus is solely on stock prices are not investors under my strictest definition of an investor. Instead, from my perspective, they are speculators in the stock market. Personally, I do not speculate in the stock market - never have and never will.

    As it relates to common stocks, I consider someone a true investor when they are focused on becoming an owner/partner in a good business. Therefore, to my way of thinking, the true investor is primarily focused on the business they own. Consequently, they are positioning themselves to be owners of the business they invested in for a long time to come. Therefore, it logically follows that their primary attention is best placed on the operating results that their business generates on their behalf as owners.

    Most importantly, the true investor that buys their investment from the stock market understands going in that it is an auction. As such, they understand that prices will fluctuate as other people place bid and ask orders continuously. However, since they have no intention of selling their business ownership in the near future, the daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly fluctuations in price are of no interest or concern to them. They are primarily interested in and concerned about how the business is doing, because from their perspective, they own the business, not the stock.

    At this point, I would like to turn our attention to the Great Recession and the lessons it taught about dividend growth investing. First of all, I believe that most everyone would agree that the Great Recession of 2008 was severe. In fact, it was one of the worst recessions our country ever experienced, with the exception of the Great Depression of 1929. Consequently, I don't want any reader to think that I do not recognize and acknowledge just how bad those economic times were.

    On the other hand, as it relates to high-quality blue-chip dividend growth stocks, I intend to demonstrate that the Great Recession was not as devastating, at least to the true investor, as many people believe. On the other hand, I will also demonstrate that the Great Recession was traumatic and in many cases catastrophic to those speculators that took their lead solely from stock price movement. In order to support my point, I will as usual turn to the F.A.S.T. Graphs™ earnings, dividends and price correlated fundamentals analyzer software tool.

    Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)

    AAA rated Johnson & Johnson is widely-held and highly regarded as one of the highest quality dividend growth stocks on the planet. So first let's look at how this blue-chip's stock price performed during the Great Recession. I start out with stock price action because one of the most frequent comments I receive goes something like this:

    "Should we be concerned that when the general market goes down it will take even well valued stocks down with it?" Or this: "Just as a rising tide tends to lift most/all boats, a falling tide tends to take most down with it. If the market tanks, even the best stocks are likely to be hit. Just my opinion."

    Now without question, those comments are most likely accurate and contain truth. In other words, in the short run, most stocks will rise and fall with the overall short-term behavior of the market. To paraphrase an old Ben Graham comment he allegedly once said, that everything he knows about the stock market can be summed up in two words - "it fluctuates." But as I stated earlier, if I am not intending to sell the stock (the business) for years to come, my curt response is - so what! Stock prices will surely fluctuate in the short run, but in the long run, my returns will be a function of the success of the business that I am an owner of. Therefore, I am most concerned with how the business is doing over worrying about short-term price volatility that I cannot predict or control anyway. Stated succinctly, I believe that all this fear about short-term price volatility is much ado about nothing.

    This brings me to a few remarks regarding other price-focused comments that I often hear that frankly concern me. Many readers will talk about strategies where they implement stop losses, or follow a rule that if the stock falls a certain percentage, for example 10%, they immediately sell. I never understood the logic of those strategies because of my strong focus and commitment to valuation. If I was careful to only invest in a company when I calculated that its valuation was sound or attractive, then it seems straightforward to me that if the price fell from that level, the company has simply become more attractive at the lower price.

    Consequently, instead of risk, I see opportunity when that happens. I just don't understand the logic, nor do I see the benefit of selling a perfectly valuable asset for less than it is worth simply because of fear. Furthermore, I understand that not all stock price drops are the same. I do become fearful when I see one of my holdings become dangerously overvalued. This is because if a company's stock price drops from insanely high valuations, it may take years for it to recover - if ever. On the other hand, if a company's stock falls from fair valuation, or better yet attractive valuation, recovery is usually very quick, and I contend inevitable.

    Let's test these postulates by examining Johnson & Johnson's stock price action in the real world scenario of one of the worst recessions in history. On August 29, 2008, Johnson & Johnson traded at $70.43, a high mark for the year. By February 27, 2009, Johnson & Johnson's stock price fell to $50 per share, its low mark during the recession representing a 29% reduction in value. Although this was better than many stocks performed during the recession, it was clearly a large and frightening fall from grace. If all you had to go by was stock price, no one could blame you for becoming scared and disturbed because a 29% loss is significant.

    Johnson & Johnson

    (click to enlarge)
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