Wednesday, December 31, 2008

* Alpine Total Dynamic Dividend Fund (AOD) Update

In December 2007, I began looking at the Alpine Total Dynamic Dividend Fund (AOD). This is a closed-end fund with an investment objective to invest in equity securities that provide high current dividend income. The fund attempts to optimize both dividend income and long-term growth of capital. This is a very diverse and flexible fund. It employs a global, multi-cap, multi-sector, and multi-style investment approach. The fund combines four research-driven investment strategies – Growth, Value, Special Dividends, and Dividend Capture Rotation.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

* Refining Risk Measurement Of Dividend Stocks

Earlier we looked at the RQ (Risk/Quality) ratings of individual stocks. This was a good start to help us understand the risk profile of a stock, and our dividend stock portfolio, but it didn't quite go far enough. Since then I have continued to measure, calculate and calibrate a more comprehensive measure of risk. I sill use the RQ rating as 50% of the new measure, but I have added these two important indicators of risk:

Monday, December 29, 2008

* Stock Analysis: Kraft Foods Inc (KFT)

This article originally appeared on The DIV-Net December 22, 2008.

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of Kraft Foods Inc (KFT). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: Kraft Foods is the largest U.S. branded food and beverage company, and the second largest in the world.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

* Weekly Links: Carnivals & Articles - December 28, 2008

Each Sunday I highlight the Carnivals I participated in over the past week, along with any notable articles that I came across. For those readers not familiar with carnivals, it's where personal finance bloggers submit their best articles of the week with one blog serving as the host. The entries are separated into various categories such as Investing, Credit, Debt, Budgeting, Frugality, Wealth Building, Money Management, Financial Planning, Insurance, Taxes, The Economy, Real Estate, et. al.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

* Updated D4L-PreScreen.xls Model

By far, my most used and most downloaded model is the D4L-PreScreen.xls model. I have just completed an update on it. This update includes the normal year-end changes, plus some rework on the Projected Information section. The changes are described below:

Friday, December 26, 2008

* Three Stocks Giving The Gift Of Increased Dividends

Christmas is a time of giving. Families and loved-ones give gifts to each other. Many people give money to the needy and charities, while others give their time to help those that are not quite as fortunate. It seems that everyone is involved in giving this time of year, even corporations. Some companies are giving the gift of nothing, others are giving something much more tangible!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

* Managing The Risk Of A Dividend Cut With Allocations

One tactic to help manage the risk of a dividend cut is to limit your allocation in any single investment to a maximum of 5%. However, if the allocation is measured by market value, our portfolio may still be at significant risk of a dividend cut. Consider the following:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

* Best Stocks For 2009

I always enjoy this time of year. The Christmas music, decorations, family gatherings, holiday plays and stock picks. Stock picks? Yes, 'tis the season for stock predictions! Virtually every financial writer will pen an article selecting his or her top picks for the upcoming year. I enjoy reading them and the logic behind them. As a long-term buy and hold investor, generally most aren't useful for me; nevertheless, I enjoy reading them. Here are some excerpts and picks from several of the experts:

Monday, December 22, 2008

* Stock Analysis: Associated Banc-Corp (ASBC)

This article originally appeared on The DIV-Net December 15, 2008.

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of Associated Banc-Corp (ASBC). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: Associated Banc-Corp operates as the bank holding company in the United States. It offers various banking and nonbanking services to individuals, businesses, and governments/municipalities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

* Weekly Links: Carnivals & Articles - December 21, 2008

Each Sunday I highlight the Carnivals I participated in over the past week, along with any notable articles that I came across. For those readers not familiar with carnivals, it's where personal finance bloggers submit their best articles of the week with one blog serving as the host. The entries are separated into various categories such as Investing, Credit, Debt, Budgeting, Frugality, Wealth Building, Money Management, Financial Planning, Insurance, Taxes, The Economy, Real Estate, et. al.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

* 2009 Investing Goals

My goals were originally defined in this December 1, 2007 Investing Goals post. Short of a cataclysmic melt-down, I should greatly exceed by 2008 goals. In addition, I am well on track to reach my 2017 and 2027 goals, as such, I will leave them unchanged. Now, what to do with my 2009 goal?

Friday, December 19, 2008

* Big Names, Big Dividend Increases

Compound interest is what occurs when interest previously earned is added to the principle and is considered when calculating future interest - i.e. earning interest on interest. So, what's more powerful than compound interest? Compound dividends! Compound dividends are like compound interest on steroids - you are not only earning on reinvested dividends, but the dividend rate is increasing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

* Is Now The Time to Consider Long-term Bonds?

The price of bonds moves inversely with interest rates; that is as interest rates move up, the price of bonds goes down and as rates go down, the price increases. Thus, conventional wisdom would lead you believe there is not much upside in bonds with today's low interest rates. Or is that really the case?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

* Stock Analysis: Clorox Co. (CLX)

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of Clorox Co. (CLX). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: The Clorox Company is a manufacturer and marketer of consumer products. The Company markets brand names, including Clorox bleach, Armor All, STP, Fresh Step/Scoop Away, Kingsford, Hidden Valley, KC Masterpiece, Brita , Glad, etc.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

* American Safari: Stalking Three Great Dividend Stocks

There are a lot of great dividend companies out there. Unfortunately, everyone else knows how good they are and their stock prices usually carry a quality premium. So what does a income investor to do? Pay the premium and dollar-cost average your way in? Not hardly, there is a better way!

Monday, December 15, 2008

* Stock Analysis: Donaldson Company, Inc (DCI)

This article originally appeared on The DIV-Net December 8, 2008.

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of Donaldson Company, Inc (DCI). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: Donaldson Company operates as a worldwide manufacturer of filtration systems and replacement parts.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

* Weekly Links: Carnivals & Articles - December 14, 2008

Each Sunday I highlight the Carnivals I participated in over the past week, along with any notable articles that I came across. For those readers not familiar with carnivals, it's where personal finance bloggers submit their best articles of the week with one blog serving as the host. The entries are separated into various categories such as Investing, Credit, Debt, Budgeting, Frugality, Wealth Building, Money Management, Financial Planning, Insurance, Taxes, The Economy, Real Estate, et. al.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

* Pocket Change Portfolio - November 2008

On the second or third Saturday of the month I update the Pocket Change Portfolio (PCP). The table below reconciles the PCP from beginning of period to end of period for November 2008, Year-To-Date (2008) and Life-To-Date. Obviously, Year-To-Date and Life-To-Date will be the same for the remainder of 2008. The Portfolio Returns line provides the calculated return for the three displayed periods.

Friday, December 12, 2008

* 10 Companies Increasing Dividends and Long-Term Returns

It is well-documented that a significant portion of the historical equity returns are a result of reinvested dividends. In Triumph of the Optimists: 101 Years of Global Investment Returns (2002), the authors looked at equity returns from capital gains and dividends from 1900 to 2000. They determined that performance in any given year was driven by capital appreciation, but long-term returns were largely the result of reinvested dividends.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

* Five Stocks For Any Economic Situation

Wading through the mainstream financial news, two story lines are forming regarding the recent financial turmoil in the markets. The articles are trying to predict the near-term future of the stock market and cover virtually every possible outcome, with most articles falling at the two extremes - Boom or Bust. Below are some thoughts from these two camps:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

* Stock Analysis: SUPERVALU INC (SVU)

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of SUPERVALU INC (SVU). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: SUPERVALU INC. is one of the largest U.S. food wholesalers, this company is also one of the biggest supermarket retailers in the U.S.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

* Dividend Investing vs. S&P Index Fund

Part of my kids' college fund is invested in Vanguard's S&P 500 Index Fund (VFINX). When I opened the October statement, I was mildly surprised to see the net asset value had fell below the September 1997 level when the account was first opened. Over the year I have become somewhat disenchanted with mutual funds, ETFs and CEFs due to their recent poor performance relative to my dividend investments.

Monday, December 8, 2008

* Stock Analysis: Sovran Self Storage, Inc. (SSS)

This article originally appeared on The DIV-Net December 1, 2008.

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of Sovran Self Storage, Inc. (SSS). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: Sovran Self Storage Inc. is a self-managed real estate investment trust that owns self-storage facilities, mainly in the East, Midwest, Arizona, and Texas.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

* Weekly Links: Carnivals & Articles - December 7, 2008

Each Sunday I highlight the Carnivals I participated in over the past week, along with any notable articles that I came across. For those readers not familiar with carnivals, it's where personal finance bloggers submit their best articles of the week with one blog serving as the host. The entries are separated into various categories such as Investing, Credit, Debt, Budgeting, Frugality, Wealth Building, Money Management, Financial Planning, Insurance, Taxes, The Economy, Real Estate, et. al.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

* Progress Update - November 2008

Once again it is time for a goals/progress update. November brought more dividend cuts, but I am pleased to say that my annualized dividend income still managed to eek out an increase for the month. This kept alive the string of 12 consecutive months of increases dating back to December 2007 when I began tracking it. December 2008 could be a challenge to keep the string going. Several stocks that I hold could eventually cut their dividend.

My goals were defined in this December 1, 2007 Investing Goals post. Below is an updated version of the table found in the original post.
Description Dividend
Income
Annualized
Yield
on Cost
2027 Goal 110,000 20.00%
2017 Goal 30,000 10.00%
2008 Goal 4,000 4.90%
December/2007 3,054 5.00%
Purchases YTD 4,187 1.01%
Div. Changes YTD 28 0.06%
Sales YTD (1,687) -0.56%
November/2008 5,582 5.51%
Purchases 951 0.46%
Div. Changes (18) -0.02%
Sales (843) -0.31%
October/2008 5,492 5.38%
The above information covers the current month and year-to-date through the current month.

Click here for a Detailed Historical Progress Table.

For the month, annualized dividend income increased $90, and Yield on Cost (YOC) increased 0.13%. These changes were driven by new purchases, dividend changes and sales. Let's examine each of the these categories:

Purchases: The $951 increase in annual dividend income and 0.46% increase in YOC related to the following purchases (yield at the time of purchase):
  • $103 CTL (10.10%)
  • $33 KO (3.26%)
  • $40 CAT (4.00%)
  • $65 TEG (6.63%)
  • $108 NNN (10.85%)
  • $64 PGN (6.51%)
  • $99 VNQ (9.75%)
  • $439 ETO (17.27%)
In November, I had higher than normal funds to invest due to the sale of the two stocks described below. All the above purchases, except CAT and KO increased my YOC. As noted in earlier updates, I generally expect YOC to drop each month since most new investments will yield less than my current YOC, and dividend increases will not be sufficient to offset it.

Since both of the securities sold were in my risky category, I was comfortable spreading the funds over several risky investments (CTL, NNN, VNQ and ETO).

Dividend Changes: The ($18) decrease in annual dividend income and (0.02%) decrease in YOC related to the following dividend changes (a=dividend stated in annual terms, q=quarterly, m=monthly):
  • ($18) RY $0.47755q>$0.40623q (0.02%)
The decrease in RY was due to currency conversion resulting from a strengthening U.S. dollar compared to the Canadian dollar.

Sales: The ($843) decrease in annual dividend income and (0.31%) decrease in YOC related to the following two stocks that cut their dividend and were immediately sold.
  • ($519) : FR : (0.14%)
  • ($324) : ACAS : (0.17%)
That's it for this time. The next monthly progress update will be on Saturday, January 3rd. On Saturday December 27th, I plan to update my goals including a goal for 2009.

Friday, December 5, 2008

* Eight Stocks Raising Dividends During The Market Downturn

You can't spend earnings. At first glance, this probably seems like an odd statement, possibly even incorrect. However, it is not only correct, but an important investing axiom for any type of investor. Through fraud and manipulation an income statement can be made to look quite impressive.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

* Five Dividend Stocks To Watch

Blue chip dividend stocks usually carry a premium. Often this premium is in excess of what I am willing to pay. With Monday's market slide followed by Tuesday and Wednesday's subsequent recovery, it appears that good stocks can fall into an after-Thanksgiving mark-down sale at anytime. Here are five stocks that I am watching closely, with their Risk Quality (RQ) rating and other information as of 12/1/2008:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

* Stock Analysis: Becton Dickinson & Co (BDX)

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of Becton Dickinson & Co (BDX). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: Becton, Dickinson and Co provides a wide range of medical devices and diagnostic products used in hospitals, doctors' offices, research labs, and other settings.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

* Investing Carnival #24

It is with great pleasure that I present to you the 24th edition of Investing Carnival supported by the members of The Dividend Investing and Value Network (The DIV-Net).

Monday, December 1, 2008

* Stock Analysis: Realty Income Corp (O)

This article originally appeared on The DIV-Net November 24, 2008.

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of Realty Income Corp (O). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: Realty Income Corporation engages in the acquisition and ownership of commercial retail real estate properties in United States.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

* Weekly Links: Carnivals & Articles - November 30, 2008

Each Friday I highlight the Carnivals I participated in over the past week, along with any notable articles that I came across. For those readers not familiar with carnivals, it's where personal finance bloggers submit their best articles of the week with one blog serving as the host. The entries are separated into various categories such as Investing, Credit, Debt, Budgeting, Frugality, Wealth Building, Money Management, Financial Planning, Insurance, Taxes, The Economy, Real Estate, et. al.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

* Does This Market Have A Bottom?

Each time the market rallies, the question is asked 'Was yesterday the bottom?' Up to this point the answer has been a resounding 'No' as the market quickly resumed its downward slide after each rally. Recently, a columnist asked some Wall Street pros, people who deal with hundreds of millions, billions, of dollars every day, what they are looking for that will tell them the worst is finally over and the market is beginning to recover? Here are their responses:

Friday, November 28, 2008

* NIKE (NKE), Donaldson (DCI), Hormel (HRL), McCormick (MKC) and Others Increase Dividends

Dividend investing in the classic implementation focuses on identifying solid companies with a record of growing their dividends each year; and an expectation that it will continue into the future. The focus is not solely on yield but a combination of yield and dividend growth. Often it is the lower yield, higher growth, security that will provide the best return over time.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

* Dividend Investing: A Lot To Be Thankful For!

Today is Thanksgiving in U.S. This is a time that most Americans reflect on all that they have been blessed with and give thanks for it. As a dividend stock investor, there are many things to be thankful for this year. Here are a few of the things I am thankful for:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

* Stock Analysis: RLI Corp (RLI)

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of RLI Corp (RLI). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: RLI Corp, based in Peoria, IL, provides selected property, casualty and surety insurance.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

* Strategically Managing Your Dividend Portfolio In A Downturn

The recent turbulence in the market has provided income investors first hand experience in managing their income portfolio in a declining market. For some, this may be their first significant and prolonged downturn. Here are some things that will help you succeed and thrive during this bear market:

Monday, November 24, 2008

* Stock Analysis: Entertainment Properties Trust (EPR) A Buy, But...

This article originally appeared on The DIV-Net November 17, 2008.

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of Entertainment Properties Trust (EPR). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: Entertainment Properties Trust, a real estate investment trust (REIT), develops and acquires entertainment and related properties.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

* Weekly Links: Carnivals & Articles - November 23, 2008

Each Friday I highlight the Carnivals I participated in over the past week, along with any notable articles that I came across. For those readers not familiar with carnivals, it's where personal finance bloggers submit their best articles of the week with one blog serving as the host. The entries are separated into various categories such as Investing, Credit, Debt, Budgeting, Frugality, Wealth Building, Money Management, Financial Planning, Insurance, Taxes, The Economy, Real Estate, et. al.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

* Is The Financial Crisis Getting the Best of Warren Buffett?

Through November 21, 2008, Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) year-to-date return was -36.4%. Since last December 11th when Class A shares hit its record high of $151,650, it has lost nearly half its value closing at $77,500 on Thursday; its lowest level since August 2003. This has not gone unnoticed by shareholders. Some investors have lost confidence in the ability of BRK to pay its debts.

Friday, November 21, 2008

* Sysco (SYY) Raises Qtr. Dividend by 9% and Others

I am not a stock trader; I am a dividend and value based long-term buy-and-hold investor. When I add a stock to my dividend portfolio, it is my intention to hold the stock forever. I am not smart enough to time the daily gyrations of the stock market. However, I have one hard and fast rule about selling stocks: When an individual stock held as a dividend investment lowers its dividend, immediately sell it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

* Stock Screen For Improving Dividends

Standard & Poor's has speculated that the dollar amount of S&P 500 dividend payments will drop 10% in the fourth quarter, the biggest drop since 1958. However, more than half of companies will pay more in 2008 vs. 2007. This oddity is driven by the banks, which have historically paid some of the highest dividends. As any dividend investor can tell you, the banks have led the way in dividend cuts. In September and October, 16 financial companies cut their dividend payments by $14.6 billion.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

* Stock Analysis: Sysco Corp (SYY)

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of Sysco Corp (SYY). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: SYSCO Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the marketing and distribution of a range of food and related products primarily for food-service industry in the United States and Canada.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

* Measuring Dividend Stocks Investment Risk Profile

As part of defining your investing process, don't forget to spend some time understanding risk. Seasoned investors will tell you that you should know your risk profile before starting to invest. There are several tools available on the web to help you gauge your risk profile. Here are a few:

Monday, November 17, 2008

* Stock Analysis: Canadian National Railway Company (NYSE:CNI) A Value Buy, But Not a Dividend Buy

This article originally appeared on The DIV-Net November 10, 2008.

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of Canadian National Railway Company (NYSE:CNI). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: Canadian National Railway Company (CNI) operates Canada's largest railroad, linking customers in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico through approximately 20,400 miles of track.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

* Weekly Links: Carnivals & Articles - November 16, 2008

Each week I highlight the Carnivals I participated in, along with any notable articles that I came across. For those readers not familiar with carnivals, it's where personal finance bloggers submit their best articles of the week with one blog serving as the host. The entries are separated into various categories such as Investing, Credit, Debt, Budgeting, Frugality, Wealth Building, Money Management, Financial Planning, Insurance, Taxes, The Economy, Real Estate, et. al.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

* Pocket Change Portfolio - October 2008

On the second or third Saturday of the month I update the Pocket Change Portfolio (PCP). The table below reconciles the PCP from beginning of period to end of period for October 2008, Year-To-Date (2008) and Life-To-Date. Obviously, Year-To-Date and Life-To-Date will be the same for the remainder of 2008. The Portfolio Returns line provides the calculated return for the three displayed periods.

Friday, November 14, 2008

* Looking for the Perfect Dividend Stock

In an utopian world, the perfect dividend stock would be one that is both high-yield and provide a high dividend growth rate. Its share price would appreciate ratable with its increasing dividend. All of this would be driven by increasing earnings and cash flow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

* Searching the World For The Best Dividend Stocks

Most people would agree that an asset allocation should include a defined percentage dedicated to international investments. As a dividend investor, this has been one of the more difficult allocations within my portfolio. I have identified several difficulties in locating, acquiring and owning international stocks:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

* Stock Analysis: International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) A Value Priced Stock

Linked here is a PDF copy of my detailed analysis of International Business Machines Corp. (IBM). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: IBM, the world's largest technology company, offers a diversified line of computer hardware equipment, application and system software, and related services.

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