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  • IT news
    IT news, Июль, 21

    It’s been 178 years since Procter & Gamble first began selling its products to consumers across the U.S. and beyond, but this isn’t 1837 anymore. And to keep up with the times, P&G is adopting some pretty interesting 21st-century on-demand tactics, including the introduction o…
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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:


    ( Читать дальше )

  • IT news
    IT news, Июнь, 26

    Summary Helen of Troy is cheap compared to its peers. Lesser known cyber security names. Technical analysis of Facebook, Wells Fargo and WhiteWave Foods.…
    ( Читать дальше )

  • IT news
    IT news, Июнь, 26

    Summary Successful investing requires an optimistic perspective. Pessimism often causes investors to miss out on great opportunities. However, optimism must be rational and realistic. Optimism works best with a long-term perspective and a disciplined assessment of valuation.
    Introduction

    I believe that one of the most important attributes that a successful investor must possess is optimism. Any serious student of financial history would recognize and acknowledge that economically speaking, things are good much more often than they are bad. In the general sense, common stocks have risen far more often than they have fallen. That is not to say that bad times never come, because they most assuredly do. However, even during bad times optimism has served investors better than pessimism. The rational optimist recognizes that bad times are only temporary, and better times are sure to follow.

    Consequently, the rational optimist sees the future opportunity that bad times provide and behaves accordingly by investing aggressively. In contrast, the more emotionally-driven pessimist sees only risk, which all too often provokes them to flee their investments and suffer unnecessary losses as a result. A paper loss is most often temporary, and only becomes real if you take it. This is especially true when the underlying fundamentals of the business support a higher valuation. When this is true, I contend there are only two rational choices. Hold onto your intrinsically more valuable assets recognizing that they will recover or if you have the wherewithal, aggressively add to your holdings and exploit other people's folly.

    Although my educational background is in economics and finance, I also completed a minor in psychology. How people behave and think has always been a fascination to me. However, I was more interested in finance, especially investing, which is why I made it my career. Nevertheless, my interest in psychology led me to interesting observations about how people think and behave. Many times in my life I have encountered people that possess mountains of wonderful blessings to be thankful for, but who also have a thimble full of problems or life issues. Invariably, or at least all too often, they will turn their backs on their mountains of blessings and obsess on the fewer problems they have.

    Moreover, in my personal experience there is a rather disturbing differentiation between pessimists and optimists that I have personally observed and often encountered. Optimists tend to be happier and usually kinder when dealing with others. In contrast, pessimists tend to be gloomy and often meaner when dealing with others. If you don't believe me, try presenting an optimistic article, as I often have, and see the responses you get.

    As a case in point on July 25, 2010, shortly after the Great Recession had ended, I posted an article titled "S&P 500: The Optimists Argument" and I opened it with the following:

    "The American Dream

    I believe we live in the greatest country in the world. Furthermore, I believe our country has the long-term track record to back up those beliefs. Therefore, I am very frustrated by the perma-pessimists, doom and gloomers and naysayers who are quick to write our country and its future prosperity off.

    To be sure, we are facing many severe economic challenges and problems. On the other hand, this is nothing new, as we have faced similar and even greater challenges many times in the past. Yet through it all, thanks mostly to our diverse and courageous people, we have not only persevered, we have prospered and grown as well.

    The American people have a legacy of optimism regarding the future which is more commonly known as "the American dream." This optimistic viewpoint has served as a beacon to the rest of the world leading many to immigrate into our great country in order to participate in our great social experiment based on free enterprise.

    Winston Churchill is credited with a quote that I believe sums up my point succinctly: "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." Yes, as I already stated, we are facing many difficulties, however, I remain confident that our people and our economy will rise to the challenge and, as a result, new opportunities will emerge out of these crises.

    There are numerous pundits, including the majority of mainstream media that seem to take great glee in writing frightening stories with extremely negative headlines that I believe serve no real purpose other than shaking people's confidence in our economy and their future."

    It's important to consider that those words were written in July 2010, more than a year after the Great Recession had ended. Later in this article I will provide a link to the above article and include a few comments from readers that it generated. I believe you will find they support my above statement about the perils of writing a positive article.

    Related Attributes of Successful Investors

    Additional attributes of successful investors that go hand-in-hand with optimism are embracing a long-term view and tempering optimism with realism. Although successful investors have a strong faith in our economic future, they are also smart enough to make realistic assessments about important fundamental metrics such as current valuation.

    Optimism and faith in our future are important and profitable attributes to have, but blind faith can lead to denial, and as such, can be financially dangerous. Similar to fear and greed, denial is an emotional response. In contrast, rational optimism is supported by analysis based on an intelligent assessment of the facts. Even more importantly, rational optimists conduct continuous monitoring and evaluation of their past behaviors and decisions in order to learn as much as they can from the past.

    Friends and Family Call Me a Perpetual Optimist

    All of my life, my closest friends and family have called me the perpetual optimist. In many cases it was meant as a criticism, but in others as a compliment. Personally, I have always considered it a compliment. In truth, I have always felt that my optimistic viewpoint about life and as it pertains to this article, about the economic strength of our country, was a blessing. However, as it specifically relates to investing, my optimistic viewpoint should also lead to profitable transactions. Fortunately for me, that has proven to be the case over the long run. All of my transactions have not been profitable, but on balance, my optimism, my long-term approach and my focus on valuation have served me quite well.

    The Proof Is In the Pudding

    To be crystal clear, the primary thesis behind this series of articles is that optimism is an important attribute for successful investing. A secondary thesis behind this series of articles is that successful investing implies taking a long-term view when investing in common stocks. By long term, I am referring to investing in and owning a business for a minimum of a normal business cycle of 3-5 years, but preferably longer. As Ben Graham so eloquently put it, "in the short run the market is a voting machine, but in the long run it's a weighing machine."

    In conjunction with my primary and secondary thesis referenced above, is the importance of monitoring and evaluating past decisions, because only then can one determine whether or not optimism is justified. As I was contemplating this, it occurred to me that I have been publishing articles on financial blogs such as Seeking Alpha since June 11, 2009. Therefore, that timeframe of almost exactly 6 years qualifies under my definition of long-term stated above. My, how time flies when you're having fun!

    Consequently, this provided a venue that would allow me to monitor and evaluate the validity of my optimism and long-term view. Thanks to the convenience and calculating power provided by F.A.S.T. Graphs I could offer my loyal readers a rather comprehensive perspective of how my work and positive attitude has panned out. Therefore, what follows is a wide ranging look back at my first year's worth of offerings where I presented fairly valued research candidates for readers to consider. In this Part 1, I will cover my recommendations through the end of 2009. In Part 2, I will complete the analysis with a review of recommendations made through June of 2010.

    A couple of caveats about this exercise are in order. What I am presenting here is a factual performance calculation based on the closing price of each company one day prior to the article's publication. However, since F.A.S.T. Graphs only reports monthly closing prices on the historical graphs, my calculations will be close but not perfectly accurate. In other words, my starting calculation will be presented on the last trading day of the month prior to or directly after the date the article was published. This gets me within two weeks of when the article was originally presented. However, these calculations are precise enough for the reader to receive a general perspective of the outcome of my recommended research candidates.

    Importantly, I only present articles where I covered a single company in my first year of writing. However, I also include a few examples where I wrote about the S&P 500 index as a proxy for the market. These articles are especially interesting because they highlight the pushback I received from strong reactions of readers that held a more pessimistic view of the market and our economy. On these S&P 500 index articles specifically, I will include a few comments that answer the question posed in the title of this article. In short, what has a pessimistic view of our market and economy cost them? The answer is vividly revealed by the S&P 500 articles and performance calculations below.

    At this point it's important for me to interject that this is not an exercise meant to brag about how smart I have been. As I previously stated, not all of my research candidate recommendations were profitable. I have included the good, the bad and the ugly. On the other hand, I believe this exercise supports the importance of optimism as it pertains to investing in common stocks. On balance, and as you will soon see, my optimistic recommendations worked out pretty well.

    To be fair, I will also add that I did not own all of these recommended research candidates, but I did own most of them. Furthermore, these calculations do not include specific times where I sold. In other words, this is not a precise presentation of portfolio performance; instead, it is simply reviewing the record produced by the individual research candidates based on the publication date of articles. Readers of these articles were free to either ignore, buy and/or sell any of these offerings based on their own needs or views.

    On the other hand, I do feel that readers of my work deserve to see what my research recommendations could have produced had they acted upon them. For the reader's convenience, the heading on each offering provides a link to the original article. But most importantly, I believe this exercise offers important lessons about the importance of only investing when fair valuation is manifest. The importance of valuation, over all other reasons, is why I offer this rather extensive review and look back at my work.

    As the reader reviews the following, I ask that they keep in mind that each of these articles was published in the years just after the Great Recession. This is important because it was clearly a time of rampant pessimism on many people's part.

    On each research candidate published in an article I will present two identical graphs. The first graph will be without the calculations applied because they cover up portions of the graph. I'm doing this because I want the reader to be able to clearly see valuation represented by the earnings and price relationship, as well as all the metrics produced in the FAST FACTS boxes to the right.

    My first article on Rockwell Collins published June 11, 2009

    The first article I ever published was on Rockwell Collins (NYSE:COL), a high-quality semi-cyclical dividend growth stock in the aerospace and defense industry. Even though earnings had weakened during the recession, I felt the valuation represented a compelling opportunity. Clearly this offering has worked out over the long run. However, short-term volatility between when I originally wrote the article and today should be recognized. Additionally, current high valuation has contributed to the results and should not go unnoticed.

    (click to enlarge)
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  • IT news
    IT news, Июнь, 26

    Summary Procter & Gamble has proved to be a consistent, solid performer over an extended period of time, delivering superior investor returns. I have high conviction in th…
    ( Читать дальше )

  • IT news
    IT news, Июнь, 26

    Summary Baxter is turning around. Mondelez has a lot of room to run. Stay away from Sysco. Stock split is no reason to buy Netflix.…
    ( Читать дальше )

  • 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:

    daskapital1000

    Robert,

    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.

    Regards,
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  • IT news
    IT news, Июнь, 17

    Summary Procter & Gamble has maintained a working capital deficit since the financial crisis. Increased cash position is the highest in 10 years. Flat return on equity largely due to weak utilization of assets. Operating margins are improving.

    It's easy to see why many investors, myself included, love Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG). It's one of those companies that even an idiot would have a hard time messing up, with 23 different brands that do $1 billion to $10 billion in sales annually, and another 14 more brands that do $500 million to $1 billion. The company is also shedding some of its brands in an effort to be more competitive and improve margins, and I would like to dig a little deeper into the company's financials to see how this is affecting the company overall, and more specifically, its liquidity.

    Working capital deficit and the lack of liquidity

    Procter & Gamble has pretty much maintained a working capital deficit ever since the great recession, ending 2014 with a current ratio of just 0.94. This was a slight improvement from 2013, where the current ratio dipped to 0.80 from 0.88 in 2012. The company appears to have increased its short-term liquidity in 2014, closing the gap between current assets and current liabilities, but why?

    Looking a little closer at the balance sheet, we find that the jump is largely attributed to a notable jump in P&G's cash position, which is at a ten-year high. The company's cash pile settled at $8,558 (in millions) for 2014, up from just $2,128 (in millions) for the previous year. This amount could grow going forward as well, as the company sheds more assets. It's recently been reported that the company will be selling three of its beauty and fragrance lines to Coty (NYSE:COTY) for a cool $12 billion.

    Selling off "non-core" assets for cash can clearly increase liquidity, and the assets the company is selling/planning to sell are clearly capable of bringing in some nice cash. P&G eventually wants to settle in on 70-80 of its best brands. According to CEO A.G. Lafley, these are the brands with:

    "the potential to grow and deliver value creation. These core 70 to 80 brands are leaders in their industries, businesses or segments. They offer differentiated products and have a track record of growth and value creation driven by product innovation and brand preference. They generate nearly 90% of current P&G sales and more than 95% of current profit. They have grown sales one point faster, with a higher profit margin than the balance of the Company during the past three years."

    This sounds reasonable, especially since it plans to dispose of 90 to 100 brands that:

    "have declining sales of −3%, declining profits of −16% and half the average Company margin during the past three years."

    Further examining current assets, the company also shows a $2,128 (in millions) jump in available-for-sale securities in 2014 that didn't exist in 2013. The company's current ratio was closer to 1 at the end of its most recent quarter as well.

    Stretching payables as a source of short-term liquidity?

    Staying with the theme of liquidity, I'd now like to look at the company's cash conversion cycle:

    PG Days Sales Outstanding (Annual) Chart
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