Lombardi: Stock Market Commentary & Forecasts, Financial & Economic Analysis Since 1986

Posts Tagged ‘dividend paying stocks’

Why a Full-Blown Market Correction Should Be Expected

By for Profit Confidential

Investors Can't Overlook to Succeed in This MarketThe monetary environment is still highly favorable to stocks and should continue to be so well into 2015. However, while this market can handle higher interest rates, stocks can only advance in a higher interest rate environment if gross domestic product (GDP) growth is there to back it up.

Because of the capital gains over the last few years and the across-the-board record-highs in many indices, investment risk in stocks is still high. Accordingly, it’s worthwhile reviewing your exposure to risk, particularly regarding any highflyers in your portfolio; they get hit the hardest when a shock happens.

Currently, geopolitical events between Ukraine and Russia have the potential to be the catalyst for a correction. It could happen at any time depending on what transpires.

The risk of stocks selling off on the Federal Reserve’s actions is diminishing. The marketplace is well informed about the central bank’s intentions and it’s quite clear that Fed Chair Janet Yellen doesn’t want to do anything to “surprise” Wall Street.

I still view this market as one where institutional investors want to own the safest names. The economic data just isn’t strong enough for traditional mutual funds and pensions to be speculating.

This is why the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other large-cap dividend paying stocks are so well positioned. They offer great prospects for increasing quarterly income, some capital gain potential (still), and downside protection compared to the rest of the market.

Of course, all stocks are risky. An equity security is priced in a secondary market where fear, greed, emotions, and a herd mentality are part of the daily pricing mechanism.

Accordingly, anything … Read More

Simple Wealth-Creating Strategy for Long-Term Investors

By for Profit Confidential

Compounding Strategy Every Investor Should ConsiderAs a strong believer in the wealth-creating effects of large-cap, dividend paying stocks, I’m also an advocate of dividend reinvestment, which is the purchasing of a company’s shares using the cash dividends paid.

This can be done commission-free from your broker and/or through the company itself if it offers such a program.

Dividend reinvestment is a powerful wealth creator if you do not require the income paid out by a corporation. It is a great way to invest and to grow your money over the long-term.

As the timespan increases, the percentage return produced by the S&P 500 becomes weighted to dividends. It’s kind of old school, but the numbers add up. Even over a few short years of good broader market performance, total investment returns can increase substantially over simple capital gains.

For example, if you bought shares in Intel Corporation (INTC) at the beginning of 2010, that stock would have produced a capital gain to date of approximately 50%.

But if you reinvested the dividends paid by Intel into new shares each quarter, your total investment return, including dividends and new shares, jumps to approximately 75%, which is a very big difference!

In the utility sector, Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) increased on the stock market about 30% over the last three years. But by reinvesting the company’s dividends into new shares during that same time period, your total return could have climbed to around 49%. Again, this is a material improvement.

Of course, dividend reinvestment excludes the potential returns to be had with the income being applied to other potential assets.

But the process is so easy, and … Read More

Flight to Safety Rewarding These Top Stocks

By for Profit Confidential

Investors' Flight to Safety Putting These Stocks on TopMy dad is earning a few percentage points on his fixed-income yields. Fortunately for him, that’s sufficient to live on when combined with his monthly pension and savings. He has no mortgage and lives a pretty normal, but somewhat frugal life.

In fact, Dad has always favored the fixed-income market for his investments as he doesn’t like risk. But for many Americans, the need for an ample flow of income during your retirement is a necessity for surviving, especially if the Great Recession wiped out your 401(k).

With the 10-year bond yield languishing below three percent, it would be difficult to live on this income, unless you have sufficient bond holdings or other avenues of income, like my dad’s pension. Having a more frugal or cost-conscious lifestyle also helps for many in retirement.

Yet the one area that I feel has been extremely positive for investors over the past five years is the dividend paying stocks that provide far higher yields and preferred tax treatment versus bonds. My dad may not be open to dividend paying stocks, but it makes sense for many other investors.

In reality, the Dow Jones and dividend paying stocks have returned some impressive capital gains and income over the past years. I expect this to continue in the current investment climate, where the stock market is favoring less risk.

Take a look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), which is slightly in positive territory, but at the same time, laying out income via dividend paying stocks.

The income stream has also been inviting with the average dividend yield on the 30 Dow blue-chip dividend … Read More

Why the Old Adage “Sell in May, Buy Back in October” Could Make Extra Sense This Year

By for Profit Confidential

How to Make Use of Your Holdings if Stocks Drift SidewaysAfter some bouts of selling in May, the stock market appears to be edging higher again as we are at the end of the trading month today.

As I said in January, it will not be easy to make money this year, given the cuts in easy money flowing into the capital markets. The S&P 500 is leading the pack with a 3.46% gain as of Tuesday. If you annualized the five-month return, the advance comes out at 8.3%. I expected to see the index advance about 10% to as much as 15% this year, so we may be lucky to reach the lower estimate if the stock market can manage to move higher. (Read about some dividend-paying stocks to boost your returns in “Five Dividend-Paying Stocks for When the Market Slides Lower.”)

Growth stocks, which were the Wall Street stars in 2013, are now the dogs of Wall Street, as investors shift their capital into lower-risk big-cap stocks. The NASDAQ is up a mere 1.45% this year, while the small-cap Russell 2000 is languishing with a 1.86% decline.

Now keep in mind that we are currently in the worst six-month period for the stock market from May to October, based on historical tendencies.

This doesn’t mean there’s no hope for the stock market going forward, but again, it won’t be easy. May is looking to produce a positive advance, so there’s some optimism.

What I think will likely continue to happen is the stock market will tread cautiously in the absence of any fresh new catalyst to entice investors to buy in.

We are entering into the … Read More

Top Stocks Poised for More Gains in Slow-Growth Market?

By for Profit Confidential

Best Stocks World Slow GrowthThe thing about large-cap investing—and most stock market investing, in general—is that periods of capital gains are often met with long periods of non-performance.

A great investment with a long history of making money for stockholders is Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). But even this blue chip pharmaceutical/consumer products company has experienced long periods with nearly no capital gains (1975 to 1985 and 2002 to 2012, in recent history).

Action in the broader market is a big reason for non-performance of individual companies. The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) acted similarly on the stock market during the same period.

Back in 2000, the company had a quarterly earnings miss during the height of the technology bubble. The position was cut in half and took five full years just to recover.

That stock market experience is a good reminder that even so-called “widow” and “orphan” blue chip stocks are susceptible to major share price volatility and non-performance. (See “Blue Chip Stocks Expensive at This Point.”)

And depending on your time horizon for investment, the market cycle has a tremendous influence on total equity returns.

It also illustrates that investment risk with stocks, even the most stable of businesses, will always be inherently high due to the fact that prices are determined by a secondary market system (i.e. non-private ownership).

Therefore, given the perpetual cycle of volatility and only relative pricing of stocks at any given time, one of the single most important factors influencing total equity market returns is dividends. And their importance and percentage weight comprising total market returns grows significantly with duration.

Also illustrative in the stock market’s … Read More

What Makes This Confectionary So Attractive for Long-Term Investors

By for Profit Confidential

Chocolate Better Investment Might ThinkIn my mind, portfolio safety and consistency of equity market returns are paramount. This is a basic portfolio management principle, and I like to see consistent earners as core positions in any equity market portfolio.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more speculative stocks, but investing is different than risk-capital speculating.

Consistent earnings growers and dividend paying stocks should be the foundation of an equity market portfolio geared for long-run returns. Dividends can be spent, reinvested, or, better yet, placed in an automatic dividend reinvestment program. The numbers really do add up over time, especially among those companies with a history of increasing their annual dividends throughout the years.

One mature enterprise with a very good long-term track record of delivering positive returns to shareholders is The Hershey Company (HSY); it’s the kind of position that long-term investors may wish to consider when it’s down.

The business of chocolate and confections is a good one, and this company has a long history of increasing earnings and dividends. What Hershey is not is a fast-growing company where you want to see double-digit sales growth.

But while this well-known brand may be a slow grower, it offers consistency, which in today’s world, is a very valuable trait. (See “Three Steady Stocks to Balance High-Flyers & Boost Your Returns.”)

That doesn’t mean Hershey’s stock won’t go down commensurate with the broader equity market, but the business is solid and it’s highly likely to still be growing when other industries, companies, and capital markets fail. The company’s 25-year long-term stock chart is featured below:

Hershey Food Corp ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

By slow growth, … Read More

Top Stocks for the Coming Correction

By for Profit Confidential

The stock market is getting soft quickly, but it’s to be expected. Even days when the main indices open positive, action turns down regularly; it’s a sign of things to come.  I wouldn’t be surprised if stocks stay soft until the fourth quarter. In an environment of mixed economic data and modest corporate earnings, that’s just something for which investors should be prepared.  Plenty of companies reported a solid first quarter and reiterated their outlooks for the year. But current action isn’t about corporate earnings or monetary policy. Stocks are in need of a break. A prolonged consolidation, if not a full-blown correction, is perfectly normal in the context of a secular bull market.  Leadership in technology stocks is breaking as evidenced by the performance of the NASDAQ Composite. It’s also evident in the Russell 2000 index of smaller-cap companies and the NASDAQ Biotechnology index.  For stocks to really rollover, the Dow Jones Transportation Average will have to retreat as well; so far, it’s still holding up due to the strong price action in airlines and most railway companies.  But while transportation stocks have consistently been at the forefront of market leadership, the whole group is due for a break as well.  I still see the best opportunities with large-caps and dividend paying stocks, especially, even though there’s not a lot of buying at this particular point in time. And this takes into consideration investment risk as well. Portfolio risk becomes much more important when stocks stop performing, and this is what I expect to happen over the next several months. (See “How Past Investment Trends Predicted This Stock Market Action.”)  Given current information, with a meaningful price retrenchment in the main stock market indices, it should be a buying opportunity.  Corporate balance sheets are mostly in excellent condition and the cost of capital remains low. Companies are still reticent to make major new investments, so the prospects for rising dividends going into 2015 are very good.  Since the beginning of this year, speculative fervor has come out of the biotechnology stocks and initial public offering (IPOs), which is a classic signal that the market is gearing up for a change in trend.  But it’s all normal in what was an exceptional year for stocks in 2013. The system, in a sense, is still trying to balance itself out after those exceptional capital gains.  Near-term, price consolidation in the main market indices is a good time to re-evaluate portfolios and to make lists of those stocks you might like to own if they were better priced.  Some of the stocks I like that would be worthy of consideration if there is an upcoming price consolidation/correction include: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), 3M Company (MMM), Union Pacific Corporation (UNP), PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP), The Walt Disney Company (DIS), NIKE, Inc. (NKE), Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (KMP), and Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL).  The investment theme remains blue chip, with economies of scale to boost earnings and excess cash to boost dividends.  Anything can happen in a stock market still under the influence of pronounced monetary stimulus. Potential near-term shocks to the system include geopolitical events, more currency troubles in Latin America, and/or another surprise in the banking system.  Corporate results and their outlooks are holding up. But a tired market for stocks is just that—tired. The prospects for capital gains near-term are diminishing significantly.The stock market is getting soft quickly, but it’s to be expected. Even days when the main indices open positive, action turns down regularly; it’s a sign of things to come.

I wouldn’t be surprised if stocks stay soft until the fourth quarter. In an environment of mixed economic data and modest corporate earnings, that’s just something for which investors should be prepared.

Plenty of companies reported a solid first quarter and reiterated their outlooks for the year. But current action isn’t about corporate earnings or monetary policy. Stocks are in need of a break. A prolonged consolidation, if not a full-blown correction, is perfectly normal in the context of a secular bull market.

Leadership in technology stocks is breaking as evidenced by the performance of the NASDAQ Composite. It’s also evident in the Russell 2000 index of smaller-cap companies and the NASDAQ Biotechnology index.

For stocks to really rollover, the Dow Jones Transportation Average will have to retreat as well; so far, it’s still holding up due to the strong price action in airlines and most railway companies.

But while transportation stocks have consistently been at the forefront of market leadership, the whole group is due for a break as well.

I still see the best opportunities with large-caps and dividend paying stocks, especially, even though there’s not a lot of buying at this particular point in time. And this takes into consideration investment risk as well. Portfolio risk becomes much more important when stocks stop performing, and this is what I expect to happen over the next several months. (See “How Past Investment Trends Predicted This Stock Read More

How Past Investment Trends Predicted This Stock Market Action

By for Profit Confidential

Speculative Fervor Declines on Growing RiskIt’s just the same old story with stocks. One day they’re up; the next day they’re not.

If 2013 was a breakout year from the previous long-run recovery cycle, 2014 is a year of choppiness.

Stocks just can’t seem to latch onto any particular trend. A convolution of influences from earnings results to geopolitical events continue to beat down what positive sentiment sprouts from the data.

It’s no surprise to have choppy capital markets after such a strong year of capital gains. And that’s the thing I always try to keep in the back of my mind: stocks are about the future—a future stream of earnings discounted for every potential eventuality at prevailing rates of interest.

With downside leadership in equities provided by the high-valuation large-cap technology stocks, it’s difficult to imagine the main market indices accelerating near-term, especially as the marketplace has already voted on this earnings season.

A familiar mantra coming from a lot of Wall Street analysts is that the pace of U.S. economic activity should accelerate towards the end of the year. Several firms are calling for stronger oil prices and lower gold prices accordingly.

But if the choppy action in stocks so far this year is any guide, things are unlikely to unfold as expected. And the catalyst for downside is unlikely to be due to corporate performance or the Federal Reserve. Companies are expecting to meet existing guidance, and the central bank continues to provide a stable low interest rate environment.

Geopolitical events unfolding between Russia and Ukraine are a growing risk for investors. A “sell in May and go away” type of … Read More

My Top Company for Income and Capital Gains

By for Profit Confidential

Why Every Investor Should Consider a Stock Like This One at This TimeOnce again, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has come through for investors. The company just reported a very solid first-quarter earnings report.

Continued strength in the company’s pharmaceutical business is the big reason for the growth. Total global sales grew 3.5% to $18.1 billion, with domestic sales growing 2.2% and international sales growing 4.5%.

Notable in the company’s latest numbers was strength in European sales, which is an emerging trend this earnings season. Johnson & Johnson reported a nine-percent gain in sales to Europe, growing to $4.89 billion during the quarter.

Excluding some one-time items, first-quarter earnings were $4.4 billion, or $1.54 per diluted share, for an increase of 7.8% and 6.9%, respectively, over the same quarter of 2013.

The company boosted its full-year 2014 earnings guidance to between $5.80 and $5.90 per share, up from the previous $5.75 to $5.85 per-share range excluding special items.

After the stock market sell-off in January, Johnson & Johnson’s share price dropped to around $87.00 a share by early February. It has since made a full recovery, now trading close to $100.00.

I still view this company as a position worth considering for a long-term portfolio when it’s down. Typically, the stock isn’t down for long. Its five-year stock chart is featured below:

Johnson & Johnson ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

According to its numbers, Johnson & Johnson’s consumer products business is pretty flat, while medical device growth can be volatile. The anchor to the company’s business and its profitability remains pharmaceuticals, but the other business lines are complementary. Instead of just a pure-play large-cap pharma business, the diversification among other product lines helps with cash flow.

Johnson … Read More

Contrarian View: Is the Bull Market Really Just Beginning?

By for Profit Confidential

Did the Current Bull Market Really Start in 2013There is some resilience to this stock market, and it’s evidenced by the strength in many important indices.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average is a very important index, even if you don’t own—or aren’t interested in owning—any component companies. The reason for its importance is that it has a track record of leading the rest of the stock market. And it’s especially useful as an indicator of a bull market breakout.

Transportation stocks have a history of leading the economy and the stock market. Dow theory, in my view, is alive and well, and it’s worthwhile to track the index to help with your overall market view.

Lots of commentators view the stock market as having been in a bull market since the March low of 2009. I don’t see it that way.

I view the stock market’s performance since that low (no matter how it was induced) as a recovery market, not the beginning of a new secular bull market or cycle for stocks.

The breakout, from my perspective, was around the beginning of 2013, when institutional investors ignored all the risks (including the inability of policymakers to actually make policy) and decided to bid blue chips and transportation stocks with particular fervor.

The previous stock market cycle was a 13-year recovery cycle from the technology bubble that produced over-the-top capital gains until 2000. The stock market recovered from the massive sell-off only to be hit by the financial crisis and Great Recession.

A long-term chart of the S&P 500 is featured below:

$SPX S&P 500 Large Cap Index Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Last year’s stock market performance was genuinely stunning; while the monetary … Read More

The Dividend-Paying Blue Chips That Also Deliver Significant Capital Gains

By for Profit Confidential

Two Blue Chips to Snatch up When They're DownAmong the many lessons to be learned by 2013’s stunning stock market performance, one is that dividend-paying blue chips can also experience significant capital gains.

Portfolio strategy can be based on blue chips, but it can also include companies with varied market capitalizations; mixing it up is always useful.

The thing with blue chips is that they often experience long periods of underperformance, even if they are still paying their dividends. Periods like 2013 are pretty rare, but I do think there is enough momentum in this market to carry blue chips a little higher, with gains more likely towards the end of the year.

I still feel that existing winners, especially larger-cap companies that offer dividend income, are the way to go in a slow-growth environment. Top-notch balance sheets, including huge cash balances and the very low cost of capital are a boon to big companies.

The bears are always looking for reasons why stocks should go down, but blue chips have the pricing power and the economies of scale to keep earnings afloat.

Management teams are reticent to make bold investments in new plant and equipment, and the trend of keeping shareholders happy with increasing dividends and share repurchases shows no sign of abating. These are good markets for conservative investors.

The Walt Disney Company (DIS) is one of many blue chips that are worthy of consideration when they’re down. According to this stock’s historical track record, it isn’t down for long. The company’s recent stock chart is featured below:

DIS Walt Disney Co. NYSE Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Disney recently dipped to $70.00 a share when the broader stock market retrenched in … Read More

Swelling Cash Pile Keeping Shareholders of This Stock Very Happy

By for Profit Confidential

How This Stock Is Making Its Shareholders Very HappySome stocks require more liquidity than others. Investors in Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (BRK.A) don’t particularly require millions of shares traded on a daily basis.

However, one company that could use quite a bit more liquidity in its shares is AutoZone, Inc. (AZO). This stock has been a rocket of wealth creation and looks to have continued price momentum.

The position just bounced off an all-time record-high of around $547.00, which, to some, might just be too high of a per-share price. The stock only trades around 340,000 shares a day on average, which is pretty low considering the company’s market capitalization is just more than $18.0 billion.

The stock has doubled over the last three years and has quintupled over the last five and a half.

For all the hype, however, the company is delivering the goods. In its second fiscal quarter of 2014 (ended February 15, 2014), total sales improved 7.3% to $2.0 billion. Domestic same-store sales (stores open for a minimum of one year) grew 4.3% during the quarter, which is very good for any mature retailer.

Earnings in its latest quarter increased 9.4% to $192.8 million, with diluted earnings per share rising 17.8% to $4.78.

The company bought back 404,000 of its own common shares during its fiscal second quarter at an average price of $495.00 per share, spending $200 million.

Since the beginning of the year, AutoZone has bought back some 1.08 million of its own stock for $492 million, and the company is currently still authorized to buy back another $727 million if it wishes to do so.

In a low liquidity stock such as … Read More

Should Your Portfolio Strategy Focus on Geopolitical Events?

By for Profit Confidential

Are Geopolitical Events Now the Catalyst for StocksStocks have been choppy since the beginning of the year and geopolitical events are now the near-term catalyst.

It’s a good reminder that it’s worthwhile to review investment risk to equities and what you can tolerate in terms of potential downside with stocks.

As these pages are focused on the equity market, investment risk is always a priority. Portfolio risk can get lost in a bull market, but it’s still a huge part of the equation in terms of overall strategy.

There’s just so much beyond your control as an individual investor. At the end of the day, with stocks, it’s an investment in a business commensurate with a bet that its per-share worth (which is only definitive in the event of a buyout) will be recognized by a marketplace ruled by fear, greed, and emotions.

In late 1999, The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) had an earnings miss and the stock was basically cut in half, as the hype related to technology stocks was coming apart. It took five full years for Procter & Gamble’s share price to recuperate from the sell-off; and while the company was still paying its dividends, that’s a long time for any equity investor.

Stocks always correct themselves eventually, but excessive pricing (like in other asset classes) can last for quite a while. Procter & Gamble’s long-term stock chart is featured below:

PG Procter Gamble Company Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

In terms of portfolio strategy related to stocks, a multi-faceted investment strategy is key. This means varying holdings among industries, stock market capitalizations, dividend paying stocks, and pure-play bets.

An individual investor certainly doesn’t have to be the … Read More

Where to Find Value in an Overbought Market

By for Profit Confidential

What Stocks to Buy in an Overbought MarketMany smaller companies are now reporting their financial results, and very soon, it will be the lull between earnings seasons, when the only fuel the marketplace has to go on is monetary policy and economic news.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if stocks took a break for the entire second quarter. Fourth-quarter financial results were decent, but they weren’t the kind of numbers that justify loading up on positions. Stocks seem to be about fully priced and there’s no real reason why they should go up near-term, especially considering last year’s performance.

The market had a tough time at the very beginning of the year but recovered strongly after the Federal Reserve provided certainty on monetary policy and the outlook for quantitative easing. There were some material corporate events in terms of new share buyback programs and select dividend increases, but most companies announce dividend news in the bottom half of the year; this is when we might see stocks generate further capital gains, if any.

Last year’s performance on the stock market was just so exceptional that stocks will be doing well if they close flat for this year.

Turning to blue chips for their corporate outlooks always yields useful information, even if an investor is not interested in the company’s shares. A lot of blue-chip stocks reported, in their fourth-quarter financial reports, that they expect high-single-digit sales growth in 2014 and high-single- to low-double-digit growth in earnings. This is pretty solid for mature, slow-growth enterprises, and it helps validate the market’s recent run as earnings per share catch up to share prices.

But if an investor was … Read More

Pullback in Stock Prices Makes These Dividend Payers Attractive Again

By for Profit Confidential

Blue Chip Stocks Getting into the Buy ZoneWith the turmoil in global capital markets, the sell-off in stocks is serving as the consolidation/correction that we did not experience in 2013, which was an exceptionally strong year.

But stepping back from historical share price action, we have continued certainty regarding the Fed funds rate this year. The low interest rate environment remains a very positive catalyst for the equity market and the medium-term trend.

Stocks may very well have a difficult year in 2014, but that doesn’t mean that current fundamentals aren’t laying the groundwork for more capital gains over the next several.

The marketplace fully expects continued tapering of quantitative easing to occur over the coming quarters. There’s likely to be continued pressure on longer-term interest rates, but this is a market-driven precursor to economic activity; it’s perfectly normal and is a positive, market-driven reflection of financial market sentiment.

With this backdrop and so many large-cap companies boasting very good balance sheets, strong cash positions, and the expectation that cash flows will contribute to increasing dividends, a good buying opportunity for new positions may soon present itself.

Dividend paying stocks like 3M Company (MMM) are becoming increasingly attractive as their share prices retreat. The company missed Wall Street consensus just slightly in its most recent quarter, but growth expectations are still decent for such a large conglomerate, and the company’s valuation is not unreasonable. (See “The Stocks to Own Right Now…”)

According to 3M, its fourth-quarter earnings per share increased a solid 15% to $1.62. Sales growth was in the single digits, as expected, at 2.4% to $7.6 billion. Currencies impacted sales negatively by 1.7%…. Read More

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