Thursday, August 21, 2008

* My Bottom 5 Stocks

Earlier this week we looked at my top 5 high fliers for 2008. Unfortunately, for every up, there is a down and that is certainly true for my portfolio. As before, we will look at results through July 31, 2008. Here they are my cellar dwellers with comments:

#5 - General Electric (GE) -19.3% Total 2008 Return
Of my cellar dwellers, GE is the one I am most bullish on. I liked it at $38 when I bought my first tranche in July/2007, and liked it even more at $29 when I bought my last tranche this month.

#4 - First Industrial Realty, Inc. (FR) -22.3% Total 2008 Return
This was my first ever dividend investment. It was purchased in December/2003. FR has consistently raised it's dividend since then; and unfortunately, its share price has consistently fell since then. FR has more lives than a cat - each time I give it up for dead, FR raises its dividend.

#3 - SunTrust Banks, Inc. (STI) -31.8% Total 2008 Return
Until recently, STI wore the cellar dweller crown. It very well could be the next bank divested, if it cuts its dividend.

#2 - American Capital Strategies, Ltd. (ACAS) -31.9% Total 2008 Return
ACAS has long been one of my favorite stocks. I have been in and out of it since February/2004 and still have a positive 2.2% life-to-date annualized return. ACAS continues to raise its dividend, but at some point it operating results will have to turn around.

#1 - iStar Financial Inc. (SFI) -63.8% Total 2008 Return
SFI is on a breathing machine and short of an immaculate recovery it likely will not make it to the end of the year. It's 14.6% yield on cost will be missed, while its double-digit share price collapse will not.

I take solace that even with these poor performers, I am still ahead of the S&P 500 for the year. In dividend investing, you can't focus too much on the good or bad. You learn from each and keep your eye on the long-term.

Disclosure: Long in GE, FR, STI, ACAS and SFI.