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Jamin Chen
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A retired senior interested in the market.
My book:
How I Made Money During the Great Market Crash of 2008
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  • Value Investing And Dividend Reinvestment

    The Basics

    When you are about to select a stock for long term holding, I mean you intend to hold it for several years, you face a difficult task of choosing between dividend yield and the growth of the value of the stock itself.

    Here is a simple formula to help you on the selection.

    Let me go through with you how I arrive at the final formula.

    Suppose you start with A1 number of shares of XYZ Company for which you pay P1 per share. It offers D1 of dividend per share the first year. So, at the end of the first year, you own A1 shares and you have received dividends equal to (A1 * D1).

    If the price rises R1% above P1 at the end of the first year and you reinvest all the dividends you have received, the total number of share you own after the dividend reinvestment is A2

    (1) A2 = A1 + (A1 * D1) / [P1 * (1 + R1)] = A1 [1 + (D1/P1) / (1 + R1)]

    If you repeat the same process for another year, at the end of the second year you own

    (2) A3 = A2 [1 + (D2/P2) / (1 + R2)] = A1 [1 + (D1/P1) / (1 + R1)] * [1 + (D2/P2) / (1 + R2)]

    Now, if you repeat this n number of years, at the end of the n-th year, which is also the start of the (n+1)-th year, you own

    (3) An+1 = A1 [1 + (D1/P1) / (1 + R1)] * [1 + (D2/P2) / (1 + R2)] … [1 + (Dn/Pn) / (1 + Rn)]

    And, the total value of your investment at the start of the (n+1)th year, which is also the end of the nth year, is

    (4) Vn+1 = An+1 * Pn+1 = An+1 * P1 * (1 + R1) * (1 + R2) * … (1 + Rn)

    Here,

    (5) Pn+1 = P1 * (1 + R1) * (1 + R2) * … (1 + Rn)

    Please note that Vn+1, An+1, and Pn+1 are all values at the start of (n+1)th year.

    When you extend these formulas to the future performance of your investment, you need to make some assumptions and simplifications.

    First, for the number of years you are going to hold this investment, you assume its share price will rises at the same rate every year, or

    (6) R = constant = R1 = R2 = … = Rn

    Next, for the same time period, you assume the dividend will increase in proportion to the share price. This implies the share price increases in proportion to the profitability the company and the company will also raise its dividend in proportion to its profit. It thus assumes a constant dividend yield, Y, expressed in fraction, over the chosen time period,

    (7) Y = constant = D1/P1 = D2/P2 = … = Dn/Pn

    And, the above formulas become

    (8) An+1 = A1 * [1 + Y/ (1 + R)]^n

    (9) Pn+1 = P1 * (1 + R)^n

    (10) Vn+1 = An+1 * Pn+1 = A1 * [1 + Y/(1 + R)]^n * P1 * (1 + R)^n = A1 * P1 * [1 + R + Y]^n

    Since the initial investment V1 = A1*P1, we have

    (11) Vn+1 / V1 = [1 + R + Y]^n

    The last formula above makes the selection of stocks fairly simple. It says if both the rate of growth, R, and the dividend rate, Y, remain the same over the time period of your consideration, they have equal weights on the future value of your investment. For example, the following stocks will produce the same result:

    • A stock paying a yearly dividend yield of 5% and its price growing at 3% a year
    • A stock paying a yearly dividend yield of 4% and its price growing at 4% a year
    • A stock paying a yearly dividend yield of 3% and its price growing at 5% a year
    • A stock paying no dividend at all yet its price growing at 8% a year

    Of course, you will get higher return from a stock with both a high rate of growth, R, and a high dividends rate, Y.

    These are purely mathematical calculations. Still, they can help you in choosing the stock for you investment. However, you must realize that there are many practical implications to each of these cases.

    In applying the results above to actual stocks, there are some complications. The main complication arises from the fact the stock price, P, is changing literally every second, or even microsecond. To take care of this complication, you will have to assume some kind of "average" price of the stock based on its average P/E ratio and treat the difference between the instantaneous price or P/E ratio and the average price or P/E ratio as a deviation from the average. In other words, people expect a certain P/E ratio for a given stock and you assume that the stock price will somehow "revert to average" once in a while and fluctuate around the expected P/E ratio.

    With this in mind, the rate of the rise in a stock's price per year, R, will now be the same as the rate of the rise in a stock's earnings.

    Now, if E is the earning per year of a stock, and (P/E) is the price/earnings ratio expected of the stock, and since Y = D/P, we have,

    (12) Y = Y *(P/E) / (P/E) = (D/P) * (P/E) / (P/E) = (D/E) /(P/E)

    The formula above implies the ratio of dividends and earnings (D/E) is a constant.

    The formula (11) above becomes

    (13) Vn+1 / V1 = [1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E)]^n

    The last formula indicates you will get a better return from stocks having

    • A higher earnings growth rate, R,
    • A higher dividends to earnings ratio, D/E, and
    • A lower price to earnings ratio, P/E.

    We are now ready to apply the last formula above in evaluating stocks for investment. However, as illustrated in the following cases, the application is not straight forward. Still, when applied properly, this formula can give you a good indication of how good a particular stock may perform, if its R, D/E, and P/E all hold up in the coming years. As always, when these and other parameters of a stock start to deviate from their established "norms" it is time for you to reevaluate your investment in that stock.

    Applications

    Here, we are going to apply the formulas developed above on four stocks, T, MCD, GOOG, and AAPL.

    Stock 1: AT&T, Inc. (NYSE:T)

    T is a widely held dividend stock.

    In the table below, the earnings per share, E/S, are obtained from CNBC website and the dividends per share, D/S, from Yahoo website. The prices per share, P, are also obtained from Yahoo website. Here the prices chosen are that of the first trading days of the corresponding years.

      

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

     

    Year

    2006

    2007

    2008

    2009

    2010

    2011

    2012

    Average

    1

    E/S

    2.34

    1.94

    2.16

    2.12

    2.3

    2.2

      

    2

    R

    -0.170

    0.1134

    -0.018

    0.0849

    -0.043

      

    -0.0069

    3

    D/S

    1.332

    1.42

    1.6

    1.64

    1.68

    1.72

      

    4

    D/E

    0.5692

    0.7320

    0.7407

    0.7736

    0.7304

    0.7818

     

    0.7213

    5

    P

    24.71

    34.95

    41

    29.42

    28.58

    29.67

    30.38

     

    6

    P/E

    10.559

    18.015

    18.981

    13.877

    12.426

    13.486

     

    14.557

    7

    Shares

    1.0000

    1.0381

    1.0741

    1.1325

    1.1975

    1.2653

    1.3369

     

    The growth rates, R, are calculated from E/S of two consecutive years. For example, for the year 2006,

    R = 1.94/2.34 - 1 = -0.170

    The average given in column 8 is a simple average of the 5 data available. Note that year 2012 is not yet over and, therefore, there is no actual E/S available. Though estimates are available for the year 2012, for simplicity sake, they are not used.

    The dividends/earnings ratios, D/E, are calculated by dividing D/S with E/S. For example, for the year 2006,

    D/E = 1.332/2.34 = 0.5692

    The average in column 8 is also a simple average.

    The P/E ratios are calculated by dividing P with E/S. For example, for the year 2006,

    P/E = 24.71/2.34 = 10.559

    The average in column 8 is also a simple average. Please note that the P/E ratio calculated here may not be the same as that normally used. Here, for a given year, it is calculated from the earnings of that year and the price of the stock at the beginning of the same year. The selection of the price is quite arbitrary here. However, for simplicity sake, the price used here is the same as the price used to calculate the number of shares that can be purchased at the start of the year from the dividends received during the preceding year (see the paragraph immediately below).

    The number of shares starts with 1 and for year 2007 it is calculated according to formula (1) above,

    A2 = A1 + (A1 * D1) / P2 = A1 * (1 + D1/P2) = 1 * (1 + 1.332/34.95) = 1.0381

    Please note that it is assumed that all dividends are received at the end of the year and it is reinvested on the first of the year immediately after.

    From the averages in the table above, the following are calculated:

    (D/E)/(P/E) = 0.7213/14.5578 = 0.0495

    1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E) = 1 - 0.0069 + 0.0495 = 1.0426

    And, from formula (13) above, each dollar you invested in this stock on the first of 2006 should grow to 1.2846 by the first of 2012:

    Vn+1 / V1 = [1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E)]^n = 1.04266 = 1.2846

    The actual number is

    1.3369 (No. of shares you own at the beginning of 2012) x 30.38 (Price of the stock at the beginning of 2012) / 24.71 (Price of the stock at the beginning of 2006) = 1.6437

    In this case, the simplified formula (13) indicates a return (1.2846) that is lower than the actual return (1.6437). This is caused by the high P/E ratios of years 2007 and 2008.

    Stock 2: McDonald's Corp (NYSE:MCD)

    MCD is a good growth company and it also pays very good dividends.

    Similar calculation is also applied to MCD.

      

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

      

    2006

    2007

    2008

    2009

    2010

    2011

    2012

    Average

    1

    E/S

    2.45

    2.89

    3.67

    3.98

    4.61

    5.27

      

    2

    R

    0.1796

    0.2699

    0.0845

    0.1583

    0.1432

      

    0.1671

    3

    D/S

    1

    1.5

    1.625

    2.05

    2.26

    2.53

      

    4

    D/E

    0.4082

    0.5190

    0.4428

    0.5151

    0.4902

    0.4801

     

    0.4759

    5

    P

    33.52

    43.87

    58.1

    63.75

    62.78

    76.6

    98.84

     

    6

    P/E

    13.681

    15.179

    15.831

    16.017

    13.618

    14.535

     

    14.810

    7

    Shares

    1.0000

    1.0228

    1.0492

    1.0759

    1.1111

    1.1439

    1.1731

     

    From the averages in the table above, the following values are calculated:

    (D/E)/(P/E) = 0.0321

    1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E) = 1.1992

    Vn+1 / V1 = [1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E)]^n = 2.9743 vs. 3.4592 actual

    For MCD, the simplified formula matches pretty nicely with the actual result. This also shows that MCD has a very steady past performance.

    Following is a comparison of T and MCD:

     

    T

    MCD

    R

    -0.0069

    0.1671

    D/E

    0.7213

    0.4759

    P/E

    14.5578

    14.8106

    Vn+1 / V1 calculated

    1.2846

    2.9743

    Vn+1 / V1 actual

    1.6437

    3.4592

    Here, though the two stocks have about the same P/E ratios and while T distributed a higher percentage of earnings as dividends (D/E), the high growth rate of MCD makes it a better investment.

    Case 3: Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)

    GOOG is a stock that is diametrically opposite to T. It has a high growth rate and distributes no dividends. When the same calculation is applied to it, it gives the following result:

      

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

      

    2006

    2007

    2008

    2009

    2010

    2011

    2012

    Average

    1

    E/S

    10.58

    15.59

    19.49

    23.2

    29.6

    36.04

      

    2

    R

    0.4735

    0.2502

    0.1904

    0.2759

    0.2176

      

    0.2815

    3

    D/S

            

    4

    D/E

            

    5

    P

    435.23

    467.59

    685.19

    321.32

    626.75

    604.36

    665.41

     

    6

    P/E

    41.137

    29.992

    35.156

    13.850

    21.174

    16.769

     

    26.346

    7

    Shares

          

    1.0000

    1.3886

    (D/E)/(P/E) = 0

    1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E) = 1.2815

    Vn+1 / V1 = [1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E)]^n = 4.4290 vs. 1.5289 actual

    In this case, the simplified formula indicates a much higher return than the actual. What has happened here is this: the simplified formula assumes a constant P/E ratio over the time span of interest. However, GOOG had a drastic reduction in the P/E ratio during this time span.

    What is interesting here is that over the same time span, the actual return from T (1.6347) is better than GOOG (1.5289), though only slightly.

    Also interesting is that GOOG earnings per share have been growing phenomenally at a rate of about 28% per year. If, a very big if, GOOG can keep it up with a reasonable P/E ratio, the return on investing in GOOG could be tremendous. This can be illustrated by applying the same calculation to a shorter time span of between 2009 and 2011 during which its P/E ratio appears to stabilize around 17. The result is as follows:

      

    2009

    2010

    2011

    2012

    Average

    1

    E/S

    23.2

    29.6

    36.04

      

    2

    R

    0.2759

    0.2176

      

    0.2467

    3

    D/S

         

    4

    D/E

         

    5

    P

    321.32

    626.75

    604.36

    665.41

     

    6

    P/E

    13.8500

    21.1740

    16.7691

     

    17.2644

    7

    Shares

       

    1.0000

    1.8809

    (D/E)/(P/E) = 0

    1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E) = 1.2467

    Vn+1 / V1 = [1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E)]^n = 1.9378 vs. 2.0709 actual

    If GOOG earnings continue to grow at about 25% per year and its P/E ratio stays about 17, the return on investing GOOG would produce a return of about 25% per year.

    Case 4: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

    APPL has a similar earnings and P/E ratio histories like GOOG as the table below shows.

      

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

      

    2006

    2007

    2008

    2009

    2010

    2011

    2012

    Average

    1

    E/S

    2.27

    3.93

    5.36

    9.08

    16.15

    27.68

      

    2

    R

    0.7313

    0.3639

    0.6940

    0.778

    0.7139

      

    0.6563

    3

    D/S

            

    4

    D/E

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0

     

    0

    5

    P

    74.75

    83.8

    194.84

    90.75

    214.01

    329.57

    411.23

     

    6

    P/E

    32.929

    21.323

    36.350

    9.994

    13.251

    11.906

     

    20.959

    7

    Shares

    1.0000

    1.0000

    1.0000

    1.0000

    1.0000

    1.0000

    1.0000

    4.4090

    (D/E)/(P/E) = 0

    1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E) = 1.6563

    Vn+1 / V1 = [1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E)]^n = 20.6495 vs. 5.5014 actual

    Again, the huge P/E ratios in 2006-2008 caused a great discrepancy between the return indicated by the simplified formula and the actual result. If AAPL earnings continue to grow as it has been at about 75% per year as it has been in the past two years and its P/E ratio stays around 12 as shown in the table below, it will also produce a great return.

      

    2009

    2010

    2011

    2012

    Average

    1

    E/S

    9.08

    16.15

    27.68

      

    2

    R

    0.778634

    0.713932

      

    0.746283

    3

    D/S

         

    4

    D/E

    0

    0

    0

      

    5

    P

    90.75

    214.01

    329.57

    411.23

     

    6

    P/E

    9.9945

    13.2514

    11.9064

     

    11.7174

    7

    Shares

       

    1.0000

    3.6316

    (D/E)/(P/E) = 0

    1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E) = 1.7463

    Vn+1 / V1 = [1 + R + (D/E)/(P/E)]^n = 5.3253 vs. 4.5315 actual

    As shown in the table below, the combination of a high earnings growth and a low P/E ratio makes AAPL a better investment than GOOG.

     

    GOOG

    AAPL

    R

    0.2467

    0.746283

    D/E

    0

    0

    P/E

    17.2644

    11.7174

    Vn+1 / V1 calculated

    1.9378

    5.3253

    Vn+1 / V1 actual

    2.0709

    4.5315

    Table below summarizes all four cases examined above:

     

    T

    GOOG

    MCD

    AAPL

    R

    -0.0069

    0.2467

    0.1671

    0.7462

    D/E

    0.7213

    0

    0.4759

    0

    P/E

    14.5578

    17.2644

    14.8106

    11.7174

    Vn+1 / V1 calculated

    1.2846

    1.9378

    1.9743

    5.3253

    Vn+1 / V1 actual

    1.6437

    2.0709

    3.4592

    4.5315

    Here, we see AAPL has the highest potential returns which is not a surprise. However, MCD, with its high dividends payout, a good growth rate, and a lower P/E ratio, outshines GOOG. T has the lowest returns yet, as its future performance is not dependent on high growth rate, it may be less susceptible to earnings disappoints which could happen to the growth stocks when, for example, their market penetrations reach saturation.

    We all know we should pick stocks having high dividends, high growth rate, and low price/earnings ratio. However, what I present here is a method of quantifying how these factors relate to each other and how they together affect the performance of a stock.

    When you are trying to determine the future performance of a stock based on its past record, it is always important to remember that there is no guarantee that the future performance will be as predicted. You must also attempt to foresee coming events that may affect the performance of that stock. Still, the market has so many variables that you cannot foresee them all. However, a forecast based on actual past performance is better than none at all.

    Disclosure: I am long T, DIA, GLD, MCD.

    Aug 17 7:38 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Poor Man's Program Trading After 11 Months

    Continuing from my last month's report , here is the performance of my program trading of the past month. As shown below in the DIA daily chart over the past year, there was increased volatility in the market in the month of June.

    (click to enlarge)

    The result is I did three round trips of trade in June:

    But, this did not help improve the performance of my portfolio. The inactivity during the immediate past five months dragged down the annual return, as shown below.

    The performance, as of June 30, 2012, of the program trading is summarized below.

    Date of inception

    8/3/2011

    Initial funding allocated for this strategy

    $248,400.00

    Number of shares of DIA I own now

    400

    Net from trading and dividends received, from the date of inception, after commissions and expenses

    $14,153.28

    Return on the fund allocated, from the date of inception

    5.70%

    Return on the fund allocated, annualized, from the date of inception

    6.30%

    Cash on hand

    $211,064.43

    Breakeven price for the DIA on hand

    $93.34

    Market value of portfolio

    $262,444.43

    Market value of portfolio over fund allocated

    $14,044.43

    My portfolio still holds a lot of cash, as shown below. I have been using this idling cash to make some money, making used of the strategy I outlined in my articles How to double your money. I'll report on the performance of that strategy sometimes in the near future.

    So far, this strategy has been running almost on an auto-pilot and it made more than $14,000 for me (see the figure below) with very little input from me. I am very happy about it. Also, the portfolio is projecting an annual return of about 6%. That is not bad.

    You can see from the very first figure above, DIA has been meandering roughly between $120 and $130 since the start of this year. I do care about where the market is going but I feel comfortable with its behavior (going up, down or staying put) in the near future because I think my strategy has been set up to meet the challenges to come.

    Disclosure: I am long DIA, T, GLD.

    Disclosure: I am long DIA, T, GLD.

    Tags: DIA
    Jul 01 11:18 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Poor Man's Program Trading - 10 Month After

    I did not report on this program for the past two months. DIA stayed roughly between $128 and $132 during most of March and April and I did not trade often enough to affect my portfolio with significance. Only in May, it dipped below $125.

    The performance, as of May 31, 2012, of the program trading is reported below.

    Date of inception8/3/2011
    Initial funding allocated for this strategy$248,400.00
    Number of shares of DIA I own now500
    Net from trading and dividends received, from the date of inception, after commissions and expenses$13,184.08
    Return on the fund allocated, from the date of inception5.31%
    Return on the fund allocated, annualized, from the date of inception6.77%
    Cash on hand$197,586.28
    Breakeven price for the DIA on hand$101.63
    Market value of portfolio$259,436.28
    Market value of portfolio over fund allocated$11,036.28

    During the past five months (January-May), only one trade per month was made.

    With a lack of trades, the return on the capital suffered, as shown below.

    Of the 500 shares of DIA I am holding now, 200 were bought at $128.56 on 2/8/2012 just in case if DIA soars above $135. It did not happen. It is a kind of insurance or hedging.

    The remaining 300 shares were bought 100 shares each at $125.00, $127.50 and $130.00. I bought them to sell at $2.50 above their buy prices. At the current level of DIA, I am still cautious and I am trading with an interval of $2.50. As shown in the figure below, at the close of the market on May 31, 2012, DIA was trading above its 20-month moving average. I intend to go back to $2.00 interval when it drops down below the moving average.

    (click to enlarge)

    With the recent downward movement of the market, the price of DIA has come down from the latest peak of $132. This is causing a slight decrease in the market value of my portfolio. This is shown below.

    So far, this strategy has made a 5.31% return on the allocated cash since it started ten months ago. At this moment, I have $197,586.28 of cash on hand.

    At this moment, the program trading is running almost on auto-pilot, with very little time and effort required from me. The program is generating an annual return of 6-7%. It is not great but it is quite decent under the present circumstances. For now, I am going to leave this strategy as is

    The program trading has generated more than $13,000 of earnings in 10 months so far. If it were my sole income, according to U. S. Department of Health and Human Services , it places me just above the poverty level in most states in the U. S. The capital for generating this earning is about $250,000. In other words, if you are going to generate enough income to provide a somewhat decent living from such a trading alone, you probably will need a capital of $500,000 or more.

    Disclosure: I am long DIA, T, GLD.

    Jun 10 1:38 AM | Link | Comment!
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