Weekly Market Summary: Riding Wave of Momentum Into Earnings Season

David Peltier, Senior Investment Analyst
Updated: April 13, 2019

The S&P 500 snapped an eight-session winning streak on Tuesday, but U.S. stocks still have strong momentum heading into the first-quarter earnings season.

The index flirted with the 2,900 level this week, which is a price that we haven’t seen since last October. One big change since then is that average U.S. earnings showed 20%-plus year-over-year growth in the first three quarters of 2018 and now we’re staring at the first quarterly earnings decline in the S&P 500 in three years.

The quarterly reports we’ll see over the next few weeks will go a long way to determining if the recent momentum can continue.… Read more

These 4.8%-5.9% Yields Could Get Hacked Apart

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: April 12, 2019

A stock’s yield is only as good as its cash flow because, after all, a dividend is nothing more than a promise from a company.

CenturyLink (CTL) recently reminded us of this. Its promised $0.54 per share dividend exceeded its ability to pay. The firm’s payout ratio of 130% – the percentage of profits that it was paying as dividends – was an absurd overpromise that couldn’t last forever:

CenturyLink’s Payout Promise Was Always on Borrowed Time

CEO Jeffrey Storey insisted his team remained “committed to and confident in our ability to maintain the dividend.” I understood the commitment, but questioned the confidence–taking on debt to pay dividends is a losing game.… Read more

3 Steps to Save You From a 23% Dividend Cut

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: April 11, 2019

In February, I wrote this about the PIMCO Global Stocks+ and Income Fund (PGP):

“If you have PGP in your portfolio, this is the time to ditch it.”

Then in early April, this happened:

Warning Becomes Reality

What was behind this nosedive? A whopping 23% dividend cut! Worse, PGP owners who didn’t heed my sell call are now sitting on 11% price losses from the day the cuts were announced.

How did I know this calamity was coming?

When it comes to high-yielding CEFs, there are three warning signs that tell you a big crash is just around the corner, and each one was blaring before PGP’s drop.… Read more

A “Real” Dividend Capture Strategy That Yields 19.1%

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: April 10, 2019

“Does Brett know of a fund that employs a dividend capture strategy?”

Our customer service guru Jonathan has fielded many questions of this flavor in recent weeks and months. And thanks for asking, because I do! Hat tip Wall Street Journal:

“Alpine Woods Capital Investors LLC has employed dividend-timing strategy quite successfully in its Alpine Dynamic Dividend Fund, but the firm believes its approach will work even better in its first closed-end fund.

“The new closed-end fund combines three strategies —dividend capture, value and growth—to maximize the amount of distributed dividend income that qualifies for the reduced rates and to find companies globally with the potential for dividend growth and capital appreciation.”

Sounds awesome, right?… Read more

3 “Yield-Curve-Proof” Buys for 7%+ Dividends and Upside

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: April 9, 2019

The “yield curve” has inverted—and that could be terrible news for your dividends!

But don’t worry: there’s a “pullback-proof” way to keep your income and your nest egg secure—no matter if there’s stock-market fire behind all this yield-curve smoke.

Below I’ll reveal three stocks perfectly positioned for whatever lies ahead: if the market tanks, they’ll likely trade flat, thanks to their cheap valuations (and sturdy dividends).

And if it all turns out to be hype and the market keeps rolling higher? They’re poised to skyrocket while handing you a 7.1% average payout (with one of these stealth buys even throwing off an amazing 9.3% yield!).… Read more

Forget Oil: This 7.6% Dividend Will Soar in 2019

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: April 8, 2019

Oil prices have been locked in a tight range for five years—and I know I don’t have to tell you that this has been a disaster for energy investors.

Oil Fails to Launch

With the benchmark Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) unable to hold its gains for long (let alone recover to pre-crash levels), even the most conservative energy investor has been clobbered.

Why is this happening?

After all, you’d think a growing global population and emerging-market growth would drive up the price of a limited resource like oil. But the tables have turned. I’ll get into why shortly.

These Dividend Payers Are Better Buys Than Oil

For now, though, I recommend that income-seekers go a different route and pick stocks (and closed-end funds [CEFs]) that benefit from cheaper oil and gas—like utilities.… Read more

Weekly Market Summary: U.S. Stocks Kick Off April With Winning Streak

David Peltier, Senior Investment Analyst
Updated: April 6, 2019

The domestic stock market averages started April on a positive note and on Thursday, the S&P 500 index achieved its longest winning streak in over a year.

Taking a bit further look back, Bespoke Investment Group noted this week that it’s now been 100 days since the major U.S. indexes bottomed in late December. Highlighted in the following table, Industrial and Technology names have led the average 22% gain in the S&P 500 since then, while healthcare stocks have lagged.

Source: Bespoke Investment Group  

Full Slate of Economic News

In overseas news this week, Theresa May suffered yet another defeat in Parliament, regarding the Brexit process.… Read more

5 Cash Cow Stocks Yielding Up to 10.8%

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: April 7, 2019

Sometimes investors forget that dividends are funded by actual cash flows.

Consider General Electric (GE), whose outsized yield tempted investors to mistakenly buy shares in this “blue chip” as disaster was unfolding. The stock losses started well before the actual dividend cut and continued on from there:

(Accounting) Imagination at Work

This focus on yield rather than cash happens too often. It’s what prompted me to warn readers about the sky-high yield of Frontier Communications (FTR) a year ahead of its 2017 cut:

A Broken Telecom (and Broken Dividend)

The “not enough cash” problem also prompted me to sound the alarm on L Brands (LB) several times ahead of its 50% dividend cut in late 2018.… Read more

This “Miracle” 8% Dividend Actually Cuts Your Tax Bill

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: April 4, 2019

Here’s something you may not know about closed-end funds (CEFs): they can give you a much lower tax bill than if you buy and sell stocks yourself.

And if you follow the first-level strategy most folks do and invest through an index fund like the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), you’re almost certainly paying more tax than you need to. Worse, you’re stuck with a 2% dividend that falls way short of the 8%+ CEF payouts you need to fund your retirement on a reasonably sized nest egg.

CEFs’ tax advantages stem from the fact that they have skilled pros running the show—and these managers know how to cut the taxes you’ll pay on the big dividends they send you.… Read more

9% MLP Yields for 92 Cents on the Dollar (and No K-1!)

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: April 3, 2019

“Hey Brett… you joined two partnerships last year?”

What? I didn’t. Or I thought I didn’t. In reality, I did–by buying shares in not one but two master limited partnerships (MLPs).

One of them was Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) and while I can’t recall the other, I can vividly the annoyed look on my accountant’s face like it was yesterday.

Master limited partnerships (MLPs) are required to issue you a K-1 package at the end of the tax year. These are generally headaches for the person who does your taxes (whether it’s you, or a professional).

That year my accountant calmly but sternly asked me to stop buying MLPs in my personal portfolio.… Read more