I practically could taste those companies joining my small but growing stable of dividend-growth investments. As of now, though, I'm still salivating, still hungry. My bids for both are in limit-order limbo.
This helps illustrate why most Dividend Growth Investors don't mind market pullbacks. In fact, it's why most actually root for the occasional slump. We are long-term investors who want to buy great companies with histories of increasing dividends, and we want to do so on our terms.
Lockheed Martin, the venerable defense contractor that has been building fighter planes and other weapons of mass destruction for decades, has raised dividends for nine straight years. On David Fish's fabulous CCC list, it's a Dividend Challenger on the cusp of being a Dividend Contender.
Trading at more than $92 in late-April, just below its 52-week high, it had spent the next five weeks falling with the rest of the market. On June 4, it closed at $81.05, a 12 percent decline.
I had spent most of that day finalizing my wish list, and LMT was on it. I liked its fundamentals, including a P/E under 10, a .64 beta and a 48 percent payout ratio. Plus, it has been hiking its dividend dramatically, now paying out $4 per share.
I decided that $80 -- which would make it a 5 percent yielder -- was my price. Why not $81 or $79? Well, we all have to establish some benchmark, and I wanted the one that would get LMT to 5 percent.
So on June 5, I put in my limit order and waited. The market started on yet another down day. LMT went right along with it. Down, down, down. It got to $80.14.
A few minutes more -- 14 cents less -- and my portfolio would be the proud owner of my sixth individual stock.
Then the market stopped declining, as did LMT. Up, up, up. The stock finished the day at $80.82, opened Wednesday at $81.79 and soon surged back over $82 as the major markets gained nearly 2 1/2 percent. Doggone it!
While I wanted (and still want) Lockheed Martin, I really wanted (and still want) Johnson & Johnson.
As I detailed in my previous article, I have sold most of my mutual funds to prepare for a market pullback. More than 40 percent of my portfolio now is in cash. Having significantly sold off one of my largest fund holdings, Vanguard Health Care Admiral, I want JNJ to become my mainstay in the health sector.
With its 50-year run of raising dividends and its standing in its field, JNJ is a core holding in millions of portfolios. Why not mine, too?
And the beautiful thing: I was about to buy this blue-chip Dividend Champion at a great entry point, as a 4 percent yielder.
Well, not quite 4 percent. For JNJ, I was willing to fudge a little. Although it needed to fall all the way to $61 to yield 4 percent, I decided 3.95 percent would round up nicely. So I put in my limit order at $61.75.
JNJ opened Tuesday at $62.16 and got down to $62.00. Just one measly quarter -- these days, the price of a gumball -- to go. Then the market turned upward and took JNJ along for the ride. It closed at $62.21 and spent Wednesday climbing near $63. Double doggone it!
I also had thought about taking a stab at another wish-list stock that I hope one day will be a core holding: McDonald's (NYSE:MCD). Less than two months after being above $100, it was down to $86.01 at one point Tuesday.
Before I even could establish the exact entry point I wanted, though, Mayor McCheese already was on a steady climb, reaching $87 by day's end and surging close to $89 on Wednesday.
As Snidely Whiplash used to say: "Curses ... foiled again!"
Now, as the prices on those three wish-list companies moved upward, should I have adjusted my entry-price points and bought them anyway?
I don't think so.
While analyzing stocks isn't easy for me, being patient and disciplined are even more difficult exercises. Each investor must have rules, benchmarks, guidelines, entry points. If we constantly bend or break our own rules, aren't we asking for trouble?
Besides, I happen to agree with many of my favorite Seeking Alpha authors: This likely will be a rocky summer, filled with plenty of buying opportunities.
Maybe my limit order will be filled within days. Maybe market conditions will convince me to reduce the price I'm willing to pay. Maybe I'll more thoroughly analyze other companies on my list and decide I want them more than I want Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's and Lockheed Martin. We'll see.
Now that I finally have my wish list (I'll share other names on it in future articles), I also need to have the strength to be patient and prudent.
As crazy as the market has been, cash isn't the worst thing to be holding right now, anyway.