In the past week, I made a few stock purchases in my Roth IRA and for my taxable account. Today I am going to discuss the purchases I made in my taxable account.
I usually scan the list of dividend champions and achievers at least two times per month, in order to uncover quality that sells at cheap prices. I also have a list of stocks I own in Yahoo Finance, which I monitor each morning for headlines. Based on monitoring companies I owned with small allocations to my portfolio, and based on their relative valuation, I decided to add to them. The companies whose shares I acquired included International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) and American Realty Capital Properties (NASDAQ:ARCP).
International Business Machines Corporation provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. This dividend achiever has managed to raise distributions for 18 years in a row.
Back on Thursday, I noticed that IBM stock was unduly punished to a 52-week low after supposedly missing analyst revenue growth expectations. The issue with IBM is that revenue has been growing very slowly over the past decade. However, as an investor in a business all I care about is the earnings per share that this business earns. This is because rising earnings per share provide the cornerstone behind future dividend growth. The thing I like about IBM is that its goal is to grow shareholder value, and not just chase meaningless revenues that would not translate into higher profits. As part of the company's 2015 vision plan, it aims to earn $20/share by 2015. So far the company has been on track to achieve those goals.
IBM has also managed to consistently repurchase stock for 19 years in a row. It has reduced shares outstanding through its regular share repurchases from 2.34 billion at the end of 1994 to 1.10 billion by 2013. Further, this dividend achiever has increased distributions for 18 years in a row. Over the past decade, IBM has managed to increase dividends by 18.80%/year. If the stock price continues languishing for several years, that is good news for IBM shareholders, because that would mean that the dollars allocated for share repurchases would buy out a greater number of shares outstanding. One of the largest investors in IBM is Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B), which is the holding company controlled by legendary investor Warren Buffett.
The stock has a low dividend above 2%, but is really cheap at 12 times 2012 earnings and 10.30 times forward 2013 earnings. Given the cheap valuation, and prospects for very good dividend growth, it is no surprise I added to my IBM position. Check my analysis of IBM.
American Realty Capital Properties, Inc. owns and acquires single tenant, freestanding commercial real estate that is net leased on a medium-term basis, primarily to investment grade credit rated and other creditworthy tenants. I originally purchased shares of this REIT after selling my position in National Retail Properties early in the year.
This REIT has been public for less than two years. However, it has managed to raise its monthly dividends several times since going public in 2011. This indicates potential for shareholder-friendly management. There are several things I look for in a REIT, as described in my REIT checklist.
The REIT has been rapidly expanding its portfolio of triple-net leased properties, and acquiring American Realty Capital Trust IV, a lot of other freestanding properties and is in the process of acquiring CapLease (NYSE:LSE). This is a lot of M&A for one year, but it is all expected to be accretive to Funds from Operations per share. In fact, AFFO/share is expected to come at 1.14 - 1.18/share, which is substantially above the annual dividend of 94 cents/share. Based on forward valuation, this REIT is a steal at current prices.
In my checklist for REITs, I look for plans for growth, and American Realty Capital Properties does have the drive to reach the critical mass of Realty Income (NYSE:O). It's top 10 tenants account for less than one third of revenues, which are diversified across 48 states. It is surprising to find that the REIT has an almost 100% occupancy rate.
The one risk I see is that ARCP grows too quick too fast. This means that a company that grows too fast, might end up leveraging itself too much, and if the world throws it a curveball, it could derail plans for world domination. Typically when different companies are acquired or merged, there is the possibility for clash of cultures. I am not saying that this would happen, but one of the possible reasons for the cheap valuation on this REIT is that it still has a relatively unproven track record in comparison with Realty Income or National Retail Properties (NYSE:NNN).
That being said, it offers a yield of 7.30% that seems to be well covered from forward FFO/share. The distribution is paid monthly, and the tenant base seems pretty stable and respectable, which lowers the chance of occupancy declining.
Disclosure: I am long IBM, ARCP, O. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.