Fall is upon us

(This was originally published in the September 2017 version of The Dividend Growth Newsletter. It is available here.)

It’s always an interesting exercise to see how human psychology can dominate the stock market. Fall is upon us, and believers of the “October Effect” must also sense that in the markets, too. The crashes of 1907, 1929 and 1987 all occurred during that wretched month, and last October the S&P 500 declined 1.94%.

To make things worse, Donald “Dotard” Trump and Kim “Rocket Man” Jong-un continue to have their war of words, with no resolution in sight. The hope is that both administrations will limit their aggression to playground insults and not launching nuclear warheads. The lack of a response by markets to this constant friction is both surprising, in the sense that markets can be sensitive to political developments, and also unsurprising, in the sense that markets are so quick to react and analyze situations that most don’t expect a nuclear war to occur. But, uncertainty continues to be an enemy of the markets, and constant vigilance required.

A new addition to the American Dividend Aristocrat Portfolio is Carnival Corp. (NYSE:CCL), which operates the Carnival Cruise, Holland America and Princess Cruise Lines. The stock currently has a dividend yield of 2.48% and prior to the string of hurricanes, posted a record profits in their most recent quarter.

A prudent investment

(This was originally published in the July 2017 version of The Dividend Growth Newsletter. It is available here.)

When it comes to investing, the old adage is that past performance does not indicate future performance. While that is certainly true, past history isn’t completely worthless. Both the stock market and the events of world history move in cycles, so what happens in the past can happen again. Forward looking statements are educated guesses at best, but, as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Consider this article by investor Nick McCullum, who showcases a chart (left) by Ned Davis Research that shows the historical return of dividend-growing stocks (9.6%) outpacing both non-dividend stocks (1.7%) and the S&P 500 (7.3%).

Dividend aristocrats also experienced lower volatility compared to the index, and because only established companies with enough cash flow can consistently pay (or raise) dividends, they’re also considered to be safer investments as well. Considering that stocks are at record highs, dividend stocks remain a prudent investment.

If only it were hockey

(This was originally published in the June 2017 version of The Dividend Growth Newsletter. It is available here.)

Here’s a fun stat: The S&P TSX had the fourth-worst performance in the first half of 2017, returning just 0.69% (see left), finishing only ahead of Israel, China, and Russia. South Korea leads the pack with an 18.03% return, and only two countries (the U.S. and Spain) outside of the Middle East and Asia finished returned more than 10%. According to BNN, Canada ranked 91st among the 103 indices that are tracked, thanks to huge declines in the energy sector with low oil prices.

That hasn’t stopped prognosticators from predicting a huge rebound in the second half, citing more appetizing equity valuations. A rising loonie will help certain sectors, including grocery chains (such as Metro, Inc., which is featured in the Canadian Dividend Aristocrat Portfolio), and a Reuters poll showed that many believe the TSX will reach new highs by mid-2018… but we all know how wrong polls can be.

In times of poor overall returns and further geopolitical risk with North Korea’s constant missile experiments, dividends are once again attractive investments for their steady dividends and high yields.

A quiet summer…?

(This was originally published in the May 2017 version of The Dividend Growth Newsletter. It is available here.)

Despite reports earlier in the year that Canada’s economic growth would outpace the U.S., the TSX has returned just 0.41% year-to-date. After an outstanding year in 2016, Canadian markets have remained relatively stagnant while the U.S. markets have rocketed; Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office had the fifth-highest percentage gain in the S&P 500 in history. Stats Canada says the country’s real GDP growth was 3.7% in Q1, but the Canadian dollar could go even lower with lower oil prices, Stats Canada’s numbers are often subject to revision and not always reliable, and the federal government has yet to inject the economy with any infrastructure spending.

The rest of the summer is expected to be quiet at best. At worst, there are many signals pointing towards a correction or a market downturn. Reports on overvalued stocks, low bond yields and an imminent bursting of the Canadian housing bubble have been ubiquitous, and the global political climate remains sensitive. Whether or not those calls come to fruition this year remains to be seen, but Canadians were sitting on big cash piles in 2016, which indicates investors have been cautious for quite some time.

The flip side, however, is that staying invested tends to pay off in the long run. Stocks in the Dividend Aristocrat portfolios are meant to be held long-term, even through market downturns. To better adapt to a constantly changing environment, 10 new names have been added to the three model portfolios, which are outlined in the newsletter.

Tiresome Trump

(This was originally published in the March 2017 version of The Dividend Growth Newsletter. It is available here.)

Donald Trump has been called many things since assuming office. Most are critical of his methods and choices, and his waning popularity is a symptom of that. But here’s another word: tiresome.

Trump has been in office less than four months, and yet Barack Obama’s presidency feels like it’s in the distant past. The 24/7 news cycle is ruthless; Trump is polarizing, if anything, and no other president has ever felt so pervasive. I mean, has the failure of any TV show ever been singularly attributed to the President of the United States?

Trump’s lack of political experience is hampering his ability to deliver on his promises, especially when it comes to big tax cuts. The S&P 500 jumped eight points the day Trump was sworn in, and over the next two months climbed to almost 2,400 points, an all-time high. The Dow saw a similar spike, reaching an all-time high in early March. Optimism has waned, however, and over the past month, both indices have pulled back, declining roughly 1 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively. The status quo has changed from a corporate-friendly administration to one that may be impeached.

In this type of environment, stable dividend stocks seem all the more logical and worthwhile. Stock prices can be difficult to stomach, but these are companies that have weathered all kinds of presidents, and continue to deliver predictable dividend increases and yields.

The Commodities Price Driven Dividend Growth Portfolio

(This was originally published in the February 2017 version of The Aristocratic Dividend Growth Newsletter. It is available here.)

Brand new in this month’s newsletter is the introduction of the Commodities Price Driven Dividend Growth Portfolio, which includes 10 companies located in Canada and the U.S. that are deemed to be of good quality, such as:

     

*Please note that investment in this portfolio is limited to only a portion of a client’s overall portfolio.

Introducing: Risty

As promised, introducing the new and improved The Aristocratic Dividend Growth Newsletter! Please click the link below to access.

(This was originally published in the January 2017 version of The Aristocratic Dividend Growth Newsletter. It is available here.)

… Opening in 1928, the Aristocratic Restaurant and its mascot, “Risty,” were an institution in Vancouver for the better part of a century. At its peak, the famous burgers-and-fries diner had a dozen locations across the city, and nowhere was it more popular than at Broadway and Granville, where it served locals who frequented the nearby theatres and waits for tables had to be endured. When the site was redeveloped in the 1990s, the Aristocratic was forced to close its doors, but the nostalgia never faded, and a miniature replica of its once famous neon sign still sits there today.

The Aristocratic Dividend Growth Newsletter harkens back to its namesake. The companies featured in this newsletter are known as dividend aristocrats, meaning that these companies been paying consistent and gradually increasing dividends for at least 25 years. The aim is to provide investors with a portfolio of long-term oriented companies that have the ability to provide stable returns.

Consistent income

(This was originally published in the October 2016 version of The Dividend Growth Newsletter. It is available here.)

Not only are dividend-paying stocks popular because they can be a source of consistent income, they are also an excellent gauge for a company’s success. Dividends are paid out from retained earnings, and only those that can grow their earnings can afford to pay and raise their dividend each year.

From the issuing company’s point of view, it’s a gesture of gratitude to their shareholders and a way to attract more investment into the company.

A history of consistent and growing dividends is a strong indicator that the company is financially successful; in turn, successful companies make for good investments.

As investors take advantage of these investments, this demand naturally drives up the stock price, further reinforcing the idea that the company is in excellent standing.

The hard truth

(This was originally published in the September 2016 version of The Dividend Growth Newsletter. It is available here.)

The hard truth is that almost no one becomes a millionaire overnight. Get-rich-quick schemes are just that – schemes that get you thinking about bags of money, but not the consequences when things go awry.

Warren Buffett’s considered the world’s greatest investor and he never won the lottery. His method: compounding money every year over a long period of time. A cursory look at his portfolio reveals that his biggest positions are in four dividend-yielding stocks: Kraft-Heinz, Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola and IBM.

Compounding is powerful because investors can earn interest off their own interest. Dividend Aristocrats have the ability to provide average returns of 10% a year while providing the safety and yield that other non-dividend paying stocks fail to do.

According to the Globe and Mail, the average Canadian household savings rate is at 3.6%. If you make $50,000 per year, you will save $1,800, and at a 10% return on your investments, it will take 42 years to become a millionaire.

Take, for example, Ronald Read, a Vermont gas station attendant who amassed an $8 million fortune by living frugally and avoiding fads and bubbles. Among his 95-stock portfolio, he owned Dividend Aristocrats such as Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.