This Huge Tech Dividend Is 16% Off (But Is It a Buy?)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: May 20, 2024

Every now and then here at Contrarian Outlook, we have a “big-dividend shootout”—we pit two big payers against each other and see which one wins out.

It’s a great way for us to accomplish two things as investors: 1) Grab the safest high dividends with the most upside, and 2) Sharpen our portfolio-building skills.

My beat is closed-end funds (CEFs), which are known for huge (and often monthly paid) dividends. These actively managed funds are a bit of a unique challenge to analyze because they each hold a lot of assets—often numbering in the hundreds.

Luckily there are a few indicators we can use to single out the best ones.… Read more

Why Does Wall Street Hate These 6%-13% Dividends?

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: May 17, 2024

What’s better than a big dividend?

A hated high yield.

Especially when the disgust comes from Wall Street analysts themselves. You know, the fanboys who follow the company for a living.

Analysts are paid to be bullish. Let’s face it, nobody wants to hear from a bear. Here’s how unusual is it for analysts to be down on a stock?

There are just two consensus Sell calls across the entire S&P 500. Two.

So, when one of the suits says a business is bad, we should take note, right?


Analysts tend to be trend followers. And as they say in the business, the trend is your friend until it ends.… Read more

This Huge “Dividend Shift” Dropped May 3 (You Can Still Get In)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: May 16, 2024

A couple weeks ago, on May 3, BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm, did something that will send a shockwave through our favorite high-yield investments: closed-end funds (CEFs).

The result is likely to be higher prices for CEF investors in the future—and even steadier dividends, too. Most folks missed this change, but it’s only a matter of time until it makes itself known. We’re already seeing it kick in with some of these high-paying funds.

Before we go further, let’s be clear on what we’re talking about: The $400-billion universe of CEFs currently yields an eye-popping 8.2% on average.

How is that possible?… Read more

The Lovey Dovey Fed is Juicing These Dividends, Up to 274%

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: May 15, 2024

Remember when the Federal Reserve stopped printing money for a few months? It didn’t go well.

Yes, I’m making fun. A bit. Chairman Jay Powell did abstain from his printing press for nine full months.

The year, as you’ll recall, was 2022. Headline inflation topped 8%. Eight! Jay, who had been blaming every supply chain from here to Shanghai for the price pressures, ran out of excuses. He held down the power button on his money printer for a hard reset.

Stocks sank 18% that calendar year. Bonds did worse—they completely blew up. A perfectly “safe” fund of US Treasuries, iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) was anything but, shedding 31%.… Read more

Contrarians: Our Buy Window on This 8% Dividend Is Open (for Now)

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: May 14, 2024

It blows me away that folks still think high interest rates will be around forever. Truth is, rates are already starting to fall!

But no one’s really paying attention (yet!). Which leaves us a brief window to lock in some sweet 8%+ dividends from one of our favorite utility-focused funds. This bargain-priced buy soars when rates drop.

Look Beyond the Headlines for the Real Rate Story

Remember January, when all the talk was about how rates would be cut six times this year?

Poof. Those hopes were history before winter—such as it was—ended.

Nowadays, futures traders have almost completely thrown in the towel—they’re calling for just two rate cuts between now and January.… Read more

This 5.5% Tax-Advantaged Dividend Soared Overnight (How It Could Happen Again)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: May 13, 2024

Every now and then in income investing, we get a sweet setup where a “boring” high yielder absolutely soars—practically overnight.

I recently saw such a scenario play out with a closed-end fund (CEF) called the BlackRock Municipal Income Fund (MUI). I bring it up now because what happened with MUI has a lot to teach us about how we can get stock-like gains from a so-called “boring” income play like this.

Despite its sleepy-sounding name, MUI is what I consider a “triple threat” investment because it can pay us in three different ways:

  1. Its dividend, which yields a high 5.5% and has been remarkably stable, even throughout the low-rate 2010s.
Read more

Tiny Stocks, Tremendous Yields: 5 Small Caps Yielding up to 13.8%

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: May 10, 2024

Small-cap stocks are on sale. We can buy select names for just 8.8 times earnings and 83% of book value.

Large cap stocks rarely sell this cheap. That is the problem with popularity! Which is why we’re looking small but thinking big, eyeing payouts between 7.3% and 13.8%.

(Those dividends are no typos. The beauty of being nimble individual investors means we can fish in these small but potentially lucrative ponds.)

Now small cap stocks aren’t always this cheap. Traditionally, smaller firms trade at a premium to their large-cap counterparts given their outsized upside potential. But today, small caps are less expensive by just about every valuation measure.… Read more

Forget Wall Street’s “401 (k) Products.” Buy This Simple 9.2% Payer Instead

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: May 9, 2024

One of the biggest retirement-investment mistakes you can make is to make things more complicated than they need to be.

Funny thing is, Wall Street actually makes it easy to fall into this trap! Case in point: A new “financial product” from a group of companies, including BlackRock, that combines target-date funds and annuities.

We’ll get into why this isn’t a strong retirement option for those still working in a second. Then we’ll stack it up against a “straight down the middle” 9.2%-paying closed-end fund (CEF) that gives you the dividends, liquidity and growth necessary to fund a more comfortable retirement—maybe a lot sooner than you think.… Read more

It’s Actually Easy to Market Time This 10.5% Dividend

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: May 8, 2024

DoubleLine Income Solutions (DSL) took its biannual trip to the bargain bin a few weeks ago. It was a short stay, as usual.

By mid-April, vanilla investors had worked themselves into a hysterical state. They somehow convinced themselves that the Federal Reserve was going to continue raising rates.

Let me repeat—they worried that, in an election year, the Fed was going to keep on hiking. Unlikely.

Even Bloomberg lamented that traders saw “no relief in sight for bonds.” A hopeless howl that piqued our contrarian interest. No doubt, relief was just around the corner.

Indeed it was in the form of Chairman Jay Powell and his soothing postgame pillow talk.… Read more

Powell’s “Quiet QE” Could Send This 9% Payout Soaring

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: May 7, 2024

“Don’t fight the Fed” is my top investing rule—but what the heck do we do when Jay Powell says one thing and then does another?

We buy bonds! Below we’ll dive into a bond fund kicking out a sweet 9% yield and sending payouts our way every month.

But first, let’s get to the heart of the Fed chief’s doublespeak.

Did you watch Powell’s press conference last week?

If you’re like me, you probably weren’t surprised by most of it. He did his usual tough-guy talk on rates. But then, almost as an aside, he said the Fed is slowing its campaign to shrink its balance sheet—known as “quantitative tightening.”… Read more