The payout ratio for the new dividend based on 2007 estimated earnings is 28%. This compares to the 5-Year average payout for MHP of 31%. The new yield on the stock equals 1.22% versus 1.08% on the prior dividend.
An interesting analysis of the S&P 500 and 2% correction chart at this link. This certainly makes one feel as though a correction is due for whatever reason. On the other hand, the more we hear about a correction, maybe the less likely there will be one.
"...this article discusses how to shop for municipal bonds, using the Internet both as a source of bonds for purchase, as well as for information. The focus is on pricing and comparison shopping."
...So, judging by the VIX, the put activity in the options market, and the AAII survey, there is convincing evidence that investor sentiment is turning bearish. As a general rule, it makes sense to remain cautious as bearish sentiment is rising because more stockowners might jump ship and move into the bear camp as stocks come under pressure. Selling begets more selling. However, it is also possible that Thursday represented a short-term period of capitulation or a situation where the market has been washed out of sellers. If so stocks can continue the long-term grind higher..."
On a market cap weighted basis, S&P's Dividend Aristocrats have outperformed the NASDAQ, S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average year to date through 1.22.2007.
The Aristocrat's portfolio performance is .80%:
Be the “Smart Money”
By Liz Ann Sonders, Chief Investment Strategist
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
You may have heard the terms “dumb money” and “smart money,” which typically refer to individual investors and professional investors, respectively. In reality, there is a lot of gray area, as there are many smart individual investors and quite a few dumb professional ones. But the “dumb money” term stems from the historic tendency for individual investors to act like lemmings, chasing past performance in the hopes of its repetition.
Take a look at the chart below, which shows the annual performance rankings of the broad asset classes, from best to worst, over the past 10 years. If there were ever a snapshot exemplifying why investors should be diversified, this quilt pattern is it. But there’s more: boxes bordered in black represent the year (specific quarter in box) during which an asset class saw peak mutual fund inflows. Conversely, boxes bordered in yellow represent the year (and quarter) during which an asset class saw peak outflows. It turns out that mutual fund investors have regularly poured money into asset classes after their peak, while bailing out closer to the bottom.(click on chart for larger image)
Let’s take a few examples. In the first column, you’ll see emerging markets’ weak performance, followed by another brutal year in 1998. By the fourth quarter of 1998, investors threw in the towel and withdrew from emerging markets mutual funds at a record pace. This, of course, was just in time for 1999’s record-breaking return. Fast-forward to 2006, when in the first quarter, there were record inflows into emerging market funds, as investors were “chasing” the prior three years’ exceptional returns. This peak inflow was just in time for the big swoon between May and June of this year.
In 1998 and 1999, large-cap growth was a big winner, while smallcap value had terrible performance. Not surprisingly, investors left small-cap value in droves in 1999’s fourth quarter, just in time for it to top the performance rankings the next two years! On the other hand, the peak inflows into large-cap growth, in reaction to past performance, came in 2000’s first quarter, just in time for its abysmal three-year run. When investors finally decided to bail in 2002’s third quarter, large-cap growth went on to post big gains the next year.
I think you get the picture, and you can see the trend for the other asset classes. The bottom line: Don’t be a performance chaser. Stay diversified. Rebalance regularly. Be the “smart money!"
- The value of an investment is based on sustainable earnings and not just current ones, investors ought to be paying a lot more attention to profit margins.
- Corporate profits as a percent of GDP hit 13 percent in the second quarter, a 50-year high.
- Following the earnings plunge of 2001-2002, the recent economic rebound has put net income at about 8.5 percent of revenues, a 50-year high.
- For the S&P 500 companies, capital expenditures as a percent of revenue has fallen from 7.5 percent to 5.6 percent today.
- Financial companies-including investment banks, regional banks, real estate companies, and insurance companies-now contribute 28 percent of the S&P 500's total income.
- Profit margins are a bit like P/E multiples in that when they move from low levels to high levels, they can provide a tailwind to returns. On the other hand, when margins move from high to low levels, earnings growth becomes more challenging...
- When earnings are weak, investors become frustrated and unwilling to pay much even for a dollar of depressed earnings. The opposite is true after a long expansion in earnings.
- ...the greatest risks lay in markets that are priced as if they hold no risk.
- Plenty of markets around the world appear to be close to this condition. Yet the market for big U.S. stocks is not among them.
- ...shares of household-name companies have lagged other asset-classes badly.
- Last year, nearly $140 billion-or 90%- of all inflows to stock funds went offshore. And small investors are doing what they always do, chasing last year's performers.
- All else being equal, this is bullish for U.S. shares, as the little guy is usually a contrary indicator at important market turns...
- the unemployment rate remains tight at 4.5% last month, only a tick above October's 51/2-year low.
- The bigger risk to the economy down the road is not weak growth but accelerating inflation.
- Expectations of lower rates have always been predicated on weaker consumer spending... real consumer spending appears to have grown last quarter by an annual rate of about 4%...
- Through December 26, Internet sales at U.S. sites for nontravel items during the holiday season were up 26% from a year ago, to $23.2 billion, according to an estimate by comScore Networks. The company says retail e-commerce outside of gas, autos and food now accounts for about 7% of all retail outlays.
- Gift-card sales are booming, a trend that boosts January receipts, often at the expense of retailers' December numbers.
- Prior to the holidays, the National Retail Federation Gift Card Survey projected a 34% jump in card buying from the previous year, to $24.8 billion.
- Average hourly pay of production workers in December grew 4.2% from a year ago, up from 3.2% in the same period last year.
- Income of production workers last quarter was up 6.4% from a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, the pace was the strongest since the boom of the late 1990's.
- While the acceleration in wage growth is great for consumers, it is not so comforting to the Fed.
Morgan Stanley strategist, Henry McVey "...the U.S. stock market is "the best house in a bad neighborhood," -- meaning the most attractive market in a cash-saturated, generally overpriced world. Still, as one real-estate truism suggests, if you buy the nicest house in a poor neighborhood, it's unlikely to be spared if things take a turn for the worse; it may just lose less value than others as the owners await a new buyer. That's worth considering in a universe where global markets trade in near unison, and where leveraged, professional "fast money" is setting the marginal price.
Corporate uniform company, Cintas (CTAS), announced an 11.4% increase in its dividend to 39 cents from 35 cents. Cintas pays one dividend a year in the first quarter.
Source: Yahoo! Finance
Chart of the Day provides the following chart showing the Dow's trading range. They note:
"Despite a host of concerns (weakening economy, softening housing market, geopolitical issues, etc.), the Dow made another record high today. While the recent string of new record highs is significant (especially coming on the heels of a major bear market), it should be noted that the Dow is not yet in the clear as the Dow currently trades near the top of the three-year trading channel (see red line). Stay tuned..."Source: Chart of the Day
- During the past 37 years, the S&P 500 posted a 7.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR)-price only-and had a 16.3 standard deviation...The risk adjusted return during this period was .47. (higher number is better
- An investor who chose the worst industries portfolio achieved a return of 7.8% with higher volatility (i.e., standard deviation). This portfolio beat the market 49% of the time. The risk adjusted return was .30.
- An investor who selected the best industries portfolio achieved a return of 13.8% with higher volatility. However, the risk adjusted return was .57.(click on table for larger image)
The site newratings contains a nice layout of rating changes and links to research summaries on stocks with various rating actions. The site categorizes the changes by market region, i.e., Asia/Pacific, NASDAQ, etc.
Following is a summary of some of today's rating changes that impact dividend growth stocks:
In the American Association of Individual Investors sentiment survey this week, AAII reports a decrease in bullish sentiment. As evident from the sentiment post last week, bullish sentiment can persist at higher levels for weeks at a time. As noted in past posts, this is a contrarian indicator--meaning high bullishness can be a signal of a market setting itself up for a downward correction.
CVS is not a true dividend growth stock as the company went from 1999-2003 without increasing its dividend. However, it is an example of a stock that trades at a lower yield and these lower yielding stocks tend to have higher dividend growth rates. The 25.8% increase is certainly a nice increase; however, the new yield, .63%, still remains quite a bit lower than the S&P 500 Index yield of 1.8%. The payout ratio based on the new dividend and 2007 earnings is approximately 10.4%. This is below the 5-year average payout of 13%.
There is a common notion that stocks, at least if held for a long-time, usually outperform other assets, so that stocks should be the cornerstone of any long-term portfolio.
If, when this idea is presented, you protest: “Wait a minute. Stocks are also risky!” the reply is either, “Stocks have done well in the past and so they will probably also do well in the future,” or “If you have a long time horizon, you’ll do well in stocks.”
However, the thoughtful investor must also wonder: “But what if stocks don’t do well? What happens then to my retirement?”
And in this self query, the more appropriate approach becomes clear: It makes more sense to think first about what risk you are able and willing to bear, and then to think about what potential investment returns you might be able to capture...
"The fact is, lower than expected returns could happen—even for many years in a row—which is exactly what makes stock ownership a risky investment, not a certainty. Lower-than-expected returns that last for a long time and/or that are severe in nature would have the impact of dramatically lowering the ending value of your portfolio, and thus could significantly threaten your ability to meet financial goals. While the probability of such an event is low, the consequences are potentially devastating and so are worthy of careful consideration. What the current reasoning omits is the fact that as the investor’s time horizon lengthens, the range of possible ending values for the portfolio also increases, and that these widening ranges include the low, but still positive possibility of a whoppingly low actual versus expected portfolio ending value (emphasis added)."
In sum, rather than reaching for a high stock return because it might come true, the goal of investing is better expressed as having enough cash on the day a bill comes due—for example, for college tuition for your children, and/or enough cash to maintain or improve your standard of living throughout retirement with minimal chance of having to go backward in your daily standard of living. These are the typical actual concerns of individual investors.
Against this standard, beating one’s peers or surpassing the market averages, or achieving a particular targeted rate of return all pale in comparative appeal. As the investment saying goes: “You can’t eat relative returns.”
In this week's Market Watch section of Barron's, Harris Private Bank CIO, Jack Ablin notes:
"The most dominant theme among [S&P 500] investors last year was quality, or lack thereof. The 76 issue rated B-minus or less gained in excess of 20% on average in 2006, while the 98 names ranked A and above picked up roughly half as much. A-plus issues gained less than 10% for the year. Interesting to note, the quality trend has reversed over the last month, with A-plus issues up over 3%, compared to C-rated selections edging 1% higher. This is a trend that bears watching.
Dividend yield was another favorite among investors last year. Stocks in the highest yielding quintile of the S&P 500 gained over 21%, while non-yielding issues trailed the market, picking up 13%. Most recently, the dividend theme has only strengthened. Last month, the highest-yielding names gained 2.5%, while non-yielding stocks picked up less than 1%.
Looking ahead, liquidity will continue to be a favorable backdrop for stocks this year, although profit growth and margin compression will emerge.
Dividends should continue to curry investors' favor, while there will be a gradual shift toward growth-oriented sectors, like health care and eventually technology. Slowing profits will be offset by P/E expansion. We expect the S&P to gain roughly half as much this year as last." Jack A. Ablin
From Standard & Poor's Equity Research. Financial markets are driven by what John Maynard Keynes called "animal spirits," the most powerful being fear and greed. One widely tracked gauge of fear is the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, which measures the market's expectations for near-term volatility as conveyed by S&P 500 index option prices. Higher readings point to increased investor anxiety.
Currently, the VIX is trading at multi-year lows, suggesting that fear is in deep hibernation. But when combined with the strength in global markets over the past three years -- the S&P Global 1200 is up roughly 100% since March 2003 -- many market participants are concerned that the complacency implied by the VIX is spreading, leaving global stock markets vulnerable to attack by the dreaded bear. (more)
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average was not adjusted for inflation or dividends.
- There are 252 trading days in a year (100 trading days equal about 4.8 calendar months).
- A major stock market rally has been defined as a 30% or greater increase in the Dow (following a correction of 15% or more).
From a dividend valuation perspective, Investment Quality Trends shows where the Dow is trading relative to the Dow's historical high and low dividend yield.
Within the S&P 500 Index, the companies in the financial sector contribute a great deal to the dividend composition of the Index:
Standard & Poor's reported that in December, the the dividend payers in the S&P 500 Index outperformed the non-payers. For the 2006 calendar year, the dividend payers returned 16.9% versus the non-payers return of 12.9%.