Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dividend Stocks vs. Dividend ETFs

In 1993, State Street Global Advisors launched the first exchange-traded fund (ETF). Now there are literally hundreds of ETFs out there covering sectors, countries, popular indexes and various strategies, including income investing. A frequent question that I get is 'Why do you invest in individual dividend stocks instead of income-based ETFs?' On the surface this seems like a reasonable question since most ETFs are indexed, tax efficient, easily traded, passive and have low expense ratios. However, as we look beyond the ETFs luster, there are several significant reasons why many income investors prefer owning individual stocks...

I Tax Efficiency

ETFs tax efficiency is only in comparison to traditional mutual funds. Consider, when you redeem your mutual fund shares and the fund does not have cash on hand, it must sell some of the underlying securities for cash to pay you. The sale will generate a taxable event (positive or negative) for all shareholders, even if you didn't redeem any shares. Since an ETF's can be sold on the open market its liquidity is not tied to selling the underlying investments; thus, not creating a taxable event to those that own the fund, but didn't sell. Individual dividend stocks are exactly the same - no taxable event until you sell your shares.

II Low Expenses

Again, compared to traditional mutual funds, ETFs generally have lower management fees. However, if you manage your own portfolio of dividend stock, there are no management fees.

III. Income Volatility

As an income investor, my primary goal is to create an ever-increasing income stream from my portfolio. To do this, I look for stocks with a long track record of increasing their dividends and the ability to sustain dividend increases in the future. Indexed ETFs are forced to buy the bad stocks along with the good stocks. This will inherently increase the volatility of the fund's dividend payments as underlying companies that are poor performers are forced to cut or eliminate their dividends.

IV. Performance

Not surprising, individually selected Dividend Growth Stocks stand a very good chance of out performing an indexed ETF over the long-term. Again, since Indexed ETFs are forced to buy the bad stocks along with the good stocks often the yield and the performance suffers.

Consider the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY). The fund holds all the stocks in the S&P 1500 that have raised their dividends every year for the past 20 years. A very small group of less than 100 out of 1,500 names qualify to be included. See SDY's performance data below, along with some popular dividend growth stocks:

SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY)
- Current Yield: 2.4%
- 5-Year Annualized Return 11/07/2011-11/06/2016: 13.05%

PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP) is a major international producer of branded beverage and snack food products. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1952 and has increased its dividend payments for 44 consecutive years.
- Current Yield: 3.3%
- 5-Year Annualized Return 11/07/2011-11/06/2016: 14.4%

Kimberly Clark Corp. (KMB) is a global consumer products company producing  tissue, personal care and health care brands include Huggies, Pull-Ups, Kotex, Depend, Kleenex, and Scott.  The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1935 and has increased its dividend payments for 44 consecutive years.
- Current Yield: 3.2%
- 5-Year Annualized Return 11/07/2011-11/06/2016: 14.5%

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is a leader in the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer products industries. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1944 and has increased its dividend payments for 54 consecutive years.
- Current Yield: 2.8%
- 5-Year Annualized Return 11/07/2011-11/06/2016: 16.0%

3M Co. (MMM) provides enhanced product functionality in electronics, health care, industrial, consumer, office, telecommunications, safety & security and other markets via coatings, sealants, adhesives and other chemical additives.  The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1916 and has increased its dividend payments for 58 consecutive years.
- Current Yield: 2.7%
- 5-Year Annualized Return 11/07/2011-11/06/2016: 18.9%

Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) , the world's largest military weapons manufacturer, is also a significant supplier to NASA and other non-defense government agencies. LMT receives about 93% of its revenues from global defense sales.  The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1995 and has increased its dividend payments for 14 consecutive years.
- Current Yield: 3.0%
- 5-Year Annualized Return 11/07/2011-11/06/2016: 29.5%

Conclusion

Good dividend stocks raise their dividends each and every year. SDY lowered its dividend in 2008, 2009 and 2011. I want investments that will not only meet my goals in good times, but also in the bad. ETFs have their place in my overall portfolio as strategic investments, but not a prominent place in my income portfolio.

Full Disclosure: Long PEP, KMB, JNJ, MMM, LMT. See a list of all my Dividend Growth Portfolio holdings here.

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- 7 High-Yield Energy Stocks Growing Their Dividends

(Photo: Steve Woods)


Tags: SDY, PEP, KMB, JNJ, MMM, LMT,

1 comment:

  1. I'm long JNJ, MMM, LMT so you can't go wrong with a Dividend ETF which includes them!

    ReplyDelete

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