One Reason to Invest 100% in American Companies

Michael Foster, Senior Analyst
Updated: January 20, 2017
america-3-flags

These days, you might be tempted to buy shares of companies based in places like Europe, Japan or emerging markets.

On the surface there are good reasons to do so.

Europe, for example, is beaten down and still going full blast on quantitative easing, making it look like the continent’s economy has nowhere to go but up.

Japan’s QE program, meanwhile, involves direct purchases of stocks by the central bank: the Bank of Japan is expected to be the largest shareholder in the country’s biggest companies by the end of this year.

And, of course, emerging markets are where the biggest growth is, so why not buy into that, too?

On the surface, this is all sound logic. And a cursory look at asset returns in these regions makes a global bet even more attractive. …
Read more

3 Little Known 7% Yields (With 50% Upside, Too)

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 19, 2017

Income investors have mined just about every corner of the market for yield. Blue-chip dividend stalwarts like Microsoft (MSFT) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) are downright expensive at this point thanks to a growing crowd of yield hunters. Those seeking more substantial yields have guzzled the alphabet soup, jumping into REITs, MLPs, BDCs and CEFs.

To quote the Barenaked Ladies, “It’s all been done.”

But in my hunt for less appreciated sources of high yield, I’ve come across three stocks that the financial media barely discusses, and that most investors don’t even know about.

What really sticks out about these stocks isn’t just their yields – which range between 7% and 12%! – but their range of unique and unusual business models. Some of Wall Street’s best speculations lie in little-known areas of the market where there are wide moats and little competition thanks to the niche nature of these opportunities. …
Read more

The Most Dangerous Dividends for 2017

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 18, 2017
danger-of-death-symbol-1316155

The stock market’s up, which means yields are down. And while there are still some generous payers available, be careful – entire sectors are paper tigers that will probably suffer this year.

Two weeks ago, we discussed the best 7%+ dividends for 2017. Today we’ll talk about the big dividends that should be avoided, or sold altogether.

Mortgage REITs (mREITs) for starters tend to drop their dividends over time – and these cuts accelerate when rates rise. Profits plummet because their portfolios (typically made up of fixed-rate issues) decline in value as rates run higher.

We’ve discussed the benefits of buying dividend growth at length. Why would you ever want to do the opposite and purchase these “falling payout knives”?

mREIT Dividends Race to the Bottom
Read more

2 Dangerous Dividends to Sell Now – and 1 Safe 11.6% Yielder to Buy

Michael Foster, Senior Analyst
Updated: January 17, 2017

Today I’m going to show you two business development companies (BDCs) that were great buys once but now need to be banished from your portfolio right away.

They’re all good companies, but recent market fervor has caused them to be way overpriced. And while the bull run has been good for all BDCs, there is still one I still see as underpriced relative to its potential. More on that in a moment.

This Popular Name Is Headed for a Fall

First, we need to talk about Main Street Capital (MAIN), one of the best-performing BDCs out there … and one of the world’s most crowded trades.

It’s not hard to see why: the company boasts a solid deal pipeline, an excellent management team and a growing dividend—a rare combination in the BDC universe. …
Read more

3 Stocks With 30% Upside in Trump’s First Year

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 16, 2017

If you’re betting that President-elect Trump’s economic policies will ignite corporate profits—and share prices—I have two words for you: be careful.

In a moment, I’ll show you how I’m investing in the early days of the Trump era and name 3 rare finance-sector bargains that are terrific buys now.

First, let’s look at how much things have changed (and not) since Election Day, starting with the S&P 500, which has jumped 6.0%. However, most of that came in the first month: since December 8, it’s basically gone nowhere.

“Trump Bump” Hits a Wall
Trump-Bump-Hits-Wall

That leaves the market trading around 17.1 times forward earnings, according to FactSet, well above the five-year average of 15.1 and the 10-year average of 14. …
Read more

5 Trump-Proof Pharma Dividends Up To 5.3%

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 15, 2017
Pills

Donald Trump needed just 20 minutes to knock $24.6 billion in value from the nine biggest Big Pharma companies. That was the statistic bandied about recently when the president-elect, at a much-anticipated press conference, declared that pharmaceuticals are “getting away with murder.”

That’s ironic, because investors targeting the sure-fire dividends of Big Pharma stocks might be able to get away with theft.

Trump hasn’t yet entered the Oval Office, but he’s already showing an uncanny knack for creating quick stock dips with just a sentence or two. For instance, in mid-December, he criticized the high spend for Lockheed Martin’s (LMT) F-35 jets, knocking LMT shares down by a few percent. But Lockheed almost completely recovered between then and Jan. 10, and those who bought in at the post-tweet lows are actually up 4%. …
Read more

2 Unloved Buys for 4.2%+ Yields and Double-Digit Upside

Michael Foster, Senior Analyst
Updated: January 13, 2017

Inflation hasn’t been a problem for a long time. In fact, central banks around the world have been fighting deflation, as low growth, pessimistic expectations and slumping oil prices kept prices in check since the 2008/09 crash.

That’s changing, and more people—from economists to everyday consumers—see inflation heating up. That makes now a great time to buy into an asset class few investors pay attention to. I’ll explain why, and name two of my favorites, in a moment.

First, back to inflation: according to the New York Federal Reserve, consumers now expect prices to swell by 2.8%—the highest reading since the middle of 2015. No real surprise there, when you consider that the consumer price index is rising at its fastest pace in over a year:


Read more

2 Big 8% Dividends to Buy (and 1 to Sell)

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 12, 2017

Not every high yield asset is in danger as rates rise. While some stocks paying 3% may feel the Fed’s pressure, there’s a higher subset paying 8% that should do just fine.

If you’re looking for dividends you can actually retire on, you should familiarize yourself with business development companies (BDCs). They tend to pay big yields because they are required by law to dish most of their profits back to their investors as dividends.

BDCs themselves are investment companies that provide funding to small- and mid-size companies (which typically have a difficult time acquiring funding from larger financiers). BDCs were brought to life in 1980 by Congress to spur U.S. business growth, and as such, they have certain requirements, such as investing at least 70% of their assets in American companies that are worth less than $250 million. …
Read more

How To Make 12% Annually (Forever) From Stocks

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: January 11, 2017

“Efficient market” proponents are wrong – you can bank returns of 10%, 12% or more from stocks regularly.

But you need to ignore common Wall Street “wisdom” and follow a simple 3-step formula that I’ll outline for you in a moment.

Most individual investors don’t make anything close to 10% per year because they practice “buy and hope” investing. They pick up shares and root for them to appreciate in price. With no specific plan outlining how they are going to profit from their stocks, they are doomed.

Even “tangible” fundamental drivers like higher sales or profits are no guarantee that you will profit. Ever been frustrated when one of your stocks trended lower after a good earnings report? If so, you may have complained…


Read more

5 Funds That Crush the S&P 500 and Pay 9.3% Dividends

Michael Foster, Senior Analyst
Updated: January 10, 2017

I’m sure you’ve heard that you can’t beat the market. It’s the prevailing wisdom—and it’s why passive index funds are more popular than ever.

But by that logic, picking stocks is pointless. And actively managed funds? You’ll find no joy there, either, because most managers underperform … and charge you outrageous fees for doing so.

That pretty much leaves us with one option: stick all our cash in a low-fee passive fund like the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) and call it a day, right?

Wrong.

The truth is, there are literally hundreds of funds out there that have been outperforming the market for a long time. Today, I’m going to show you five of them.

And before you ask, no, they aren’t all from one sector. …
Read more