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  • Should I Have Followed My Advisor's Advice ? A Look At 4 Year Performance [View article]
    Bob, if you haven't seen it, I think you would enjoy reading this May 22 NY Times article, "The Risks and Rewards of Self-Managing Investment Portfolios." Here's a link:
    May 23, 2015. 12:45 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Recent Trade: Sold 2 Oil Majors And Bought W.P. Carey [View article]
    Good observation, PaulC. STWD CEO Barry Sternlicht has said over the years that he thinks STWD's price should reflect a 6% or so yield and he has been disappointed that the market hasn't agreed with him. I have developed a strong appreciation for his business acumen and I think he's right about the yield. Maybe one reason STWD didn't fall during the recent downturn is that the market is already giving STWD an overly generous yield.

    WPC and STWD are two of my favorite holdings. Here are the current top ten positions in my retirement income portfolio:
    PEP 5.9%
    JNJ 5.9%
    MMM 5.9%
    WPC 5.8%
    T 5.7%
    IBM 5.7%
    PG 5.7%
    STWD 5.6%
    EMR 5.5%.
    May 23, 2015. 12:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Recent Trade: Sold 2 Oil Majors And Bought W.P. Carey [View article]
    Thanks, Brad. Good information!
    May 22, 2015. 01:27 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Recent Trade: Sold 2 Oil Majors And Bought W.P. Carey [View article]
    PaulC, from holding WPC for many years my observation is that WPC seems to have a somewhat higher beta than REITs as a group. I wouldn't call it salvation, but my hope is built on WPC's rising dividend. The market is fickle so market price swings are to be expected. Over time, market price will follow the dividend upward. I'm not planning on selling anytime soon, so (and here I agree with Warren Buffett) falling prices provide an opportunity to buy more at a higher yield. All the best to you!
    May 22, 2015. 10:30 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Retired Investors: When Dividend Growth Slows What Should You Do? [View article]
    Thanks for another thoughtful article, Bob. I'm in the process of revamping my spreadsheet, and this is a helpful reminder to put the Dividend Growth Rate and Chowder Rule columns right after the current yield column. You've made good use of the "bench" concept.
    May 20, 2015. 12:21 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mulling takeout targets in REITs [View news story]
    Here's another aspect of "buyout risk." I've only had one holding to be bought out--Harleysville Group. The stock had drifted lower and lower in price due to broad market sentiment and I kept buying the dips. Thus, the buyout occurred at a nice premium to the market price at the time. Since Harleysville had been one of my better long term performers and paid a nice, steadily-growing dividend, I was confronted with the task of replacing that growing dividend stream in the portfolio. Though the one time "bonus" was pleasant, I sold those shares with some remorse. I think the buyers of Harleysville were at least as smart as the sellers.
    May 18, 2015. 06:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • HCP Inc: An Undervalued Large-Cap Healthcare REIT, Yielding 5.7% [View article]
    Thanks, Rose. I don't mean to minimize the ManorCare risk. This is a healthy "caveat emptor" conversation and it helps to hear the views of Marek and others.

    Labrat, everyone's risk tolerance varies, but I would be reluctant to have 10% of my retirement income portfolio in JNJ. I would be even more reluctant to have that large a percentage in HCP. (Long both.)

    Relospecialist, I made my initial purchase of HCP when the stock dropped after the HCP board fired Flaherty, about the time the new CEO was announced. Here's a quote from a December 2007 HCP news release related to a venture into ManorCare with the Carlyle Group: "'HCR ManorCare's portfolio is performing at industry-leading levels of quality mix and occupancy. We are excited with our investment and the opportunity to partner with Chief Executive Officer Paul Ormond, his proven management team and The Carlyle Group,' said Jay Flaherty, HCP's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer."
    May 18, 2015. 01:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Should I Have Followed My Advisor's Advice ? A Look At 4 Year Performance [View article]
    Thanks for another helpful article, Bob. For me, the most important part of your decision to self-direct has been your focus on safety of income. Your total return has been outstanding, but even if we had experienced a bear market in the last four years, I believe you would be better off than if you had stayed with the other options. You have chosen the path of steadily rising dividends by investing in dividend growth stalwarts. You have focused on stellar credit quality. You've accomplished your goals. I believe you are well-positioned for whatever market is ahead.

    And, underneath a dividend growth strategy is the reality that rising dividends eventually lead to a rise in market price. (That may be lost on us in the midst of this bull market, but it's worth remembering so we don't panic during the next bear market.)

    Thanks for sharing your story. It encourages the rest of us to press on.
    May 18, 2015. 07:20 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • HCP Inc: An Undervalued Large-Cap Healthcare REIT, Yielding 5.7% [View article]
    Mr. Market has marked down HCP due to the HCR Manorcare issue. Currently, HCP is 5.0% of my retirement income portfolio. This is a long-term holding and I'm happy to have this Dividend Champion. I'm willing to add some more shares around $37.67, which would represent a 6.0% yield.

    Kinderer, if this is a long term holding, I would be happy to make a beginning purchase at the current price. It's hard to know when fed hikes are priced into the market. The current dip in HCP may be more advantageous than whatever market reaction occurs when the fed makes a rate hike. Should HCP's market price be further impacted by a rate hike, that would present another buying opportunity. Would a rate hike take the yield to 6.25% or 6.5%? I don't know.

    If HCP is able to continue its long history of dividend increases, whether one gets in at 5.9% or 6.25% won't make a great deal of difference in 20 years. Should they continue to prosper, today's price will seem unbelievably cheap, or in Junius' word, undervalued.
    May 14, 2015. 07:53 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • No 'High Wire Act' For Starwood Property Trust [View article]
    Thanks for the update, Brad. I've held STWD since 2011 and it has been one of my best performers. I agree that it is a different (and IMO better) business model than the standard mREITs. I've learned a lot about commercial lending and business trends by listening to Barry Sternlicht's quarterly conference calls. He has an excellent grasp of the big economic picture. When the housing market was down severely he moved into the residential REIT market, ultimately spinning off SWAY.
    May 11, 2015. 07:34 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Recent Trade: Sold 2 Oil Majors And Bought W.P. Carey [View article]
    Steve, your wife's stance brought back a long-dusty memory of Air Force ROTC summer camp in the early '70s. One of the jody calls we sang as we marched was:

    "I want to be an Air Force pilot, I want to fly an F-4E;
    Flying high above the jungle, dropping bombs on the enemy.
    Burn their backs, scorch their bellies;
    Do it right with napalm jelly."

    In retrospect, it's hard to imagine that I sang that mindless song, even if I somehow managed the embrace the illusion that they were only, after all, "commie" backs and bellies. I'm thankful I've changed (somewhat). I'm thankful the world has changed (somewhat).

    If you're wife is still holding a 40-year grudge against DOW for napalm, I think you're wise to placate her. She may not resort to napalm, but I'm sure she would be a formidable opponent!
    May 6, 2015. 08:11 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • REITs: Look Out Below? [View article]
    Thanks for your article, Adam. I think you are very much on target. The Bernanke "taper tantrum" was brutal for REITs a couple of years ago, but it provided a great buying opportunity. I reluctantly sold O and NNN during the big runup that followed. They are both now back in the batter's box, waiting for the scenario you describe to unfold. I added shares of WPC this week.

    I think S&P was right to announce that they are preparing to consider REITs as a separate S&P sector. One can take advantage of these sentiment changes via sector rotation, which I believe has extended this overall bull market. Within various sectors, there have been mini-bear markets and mini-super bull markets.

    All the best!
    May 3, 2015. 07:41 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Recent Trade: Sold 2 Oil Majors And Bought W.P. Carey [View article]
    Good article, Nicholas. Thanks for sharing your reasons for the trade. I've never held shares of BP but I'm long CVX and WPC. WPC is now the largest holding (5.8%) in my retirement income portfolio after I added some shares this week at the 6% yield point. I haven't followed BP, so I can't comment about that sale. I'm not inclined to sell CVX at these levels. I believe the dividend will be maintained and that they will raise it, if only slightly, sometime in calendar year 2015. However, I am more confident that WPC will continue its long streak of quarterly increases. So, while I share the reluctance of some other commenters about selling CVX, I think you found an excellent entry point for buying a stellar REIT. Live long and prosper!
    May 3, 2015. 07:36 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Recent Trade: Sold 2 Oil Majors And Bought W.P. Carey [View article]
    Paul, I've held WPC for many years. It is the best performer by far in my portfolio. REITs and UTEs are cousins but not identical twins. I've been an investor in both for many years and it has been my observation that while there is a partial correlation, the sectors do not trade in lock-step. They are both influenced by the interest rate factor, but that is tempered by REITs unusual tax advantage, their ability to raise rents in an inflationary economy, and the absence of profit regulators.

    WPC has raised the dividend every quarter for many years. IMO, I don't think you will see REITs in general (and WPC in particular) mirror the performance of utilities.

    If Elon Musk succeeds in freeing everyone from dependence on the electric grid, REITs will be beneficiaries. Whether UTEs benefit will depend on how entrepreneurial they are and how fully they embrace alternative energy. :-)

    All the best to you!
    May 3, 2015. 07:30 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chevron Is Taking Advantage Of The Pessimism [View article]
    Thanks for a helpful snapshot of the current situation, and the advantages of being an integrated company during this period.
    May 3, 2015. 07:15 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment