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Sorry I hide my true identity but I'm a physicist/engineer, native contrarian and idea generator. I am an eclectic dividend investor with motto "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash" applied to companies I invest in. I like to read /and read a lot - did you look on my SA photo 8-)? /... More
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  • Dividend Champions Vs. Selected Dividend Funds Performance (12/31/2007-3/30/2012)

    BRIEF REPORT 4/4/2012 by SDS (Seductive Dividend Stocks)

    The goal of this communication is to compare several mutual funds and ETFs (I'll use the word FUN-D for any of these) with passive and "blind" investment into David Fish list of Dividend Champions ( during 12/31/2007-3/30/2012.

    Data Description

    David Fish published the list at the first time in December 2007 and it is available from Robert Allan Schwartz WWW site ( Initial list contained 139 companies with dividend growth history from 24 to 54 years.

    I formed "blind" Dividend Champions portfolio from 1 stock of each company in the December's list. David Fish missed 3 companies (CTBI, BEN, BWL.A) that are now in his CCC list and I did not considered these stocks (1).

    I used open prices on 12/31/2007 for stocks purchases (2) as well as open prices on 3/30/2012 for stocks sales (3) and ignored any fees related with these transactions. No other transactions were occurred between 12/31/2007 and 3/30/2012, dividends were just collected and not re-invested. The same approach I used for each FUN-D described below and for calculations I ignored load and annual fees.

    For prices and dividends I mostly used although some dividend information was taken form Both sources show ex-dividend date, I presumed that payday is in the same quarter as ex-date for simplicity.

    The expense for set-up of "blind" Dividend Champions portfolio is $6401.27 and the same amount was invested in each FUN-D. Hence the calculations presented below show apple to apple comparisons before fees and taxes.

    I downloaded all FUN-Ds with word "dividend" in the name from Morningstar and Lipper and selected FUN-Ds with the name that remind principles David Fish list of Dividend Champions, such as "Dividend Growth", "Dividend Achievers", "Rising Dividends", etc. Usually few mutual funds with different fees (which I ignored as mentioned already) co-exists in a "family". I compared holdings and results of two mutual funds from the same family: SIT Dividend Growth Fund Inst and SIT Dividend Growth S and they have very similar holdings and performance, so I just took the first fund from mostly alphabetical list in the fund family.

    Symbols for FUN-Ds are in accordance with and I used the symbol DFDC for "blind" Dividend Champions portfolio. Quarterly dividend data were calculated for DFDC and funds with monthly dividends, semiannual and annual dividends of some FUN-Ds were not recalculated for quarterly base used in this report.

    Results and short analysis

    Total profit of a DFDC investor during the holding period is about 6.6%. DFDC dividends 11.47% during 12/31/2007-3/30/2012 overcompensated 4.85% of capital losses.

    DFDC is essentially passive market-weight portfolio and therefore I also compared it with famous (but active) market-weight index S&P 500 represented by SPY. More than half (72 of 139) DFDC companies were in S&P 500 in March 2012.

    Comparison of regular DFDC dividends with total SPY dividends (fig. 1) shows that they were unstable and even decreased during considered holding period. In contrast with expectation of a dividend growth investing blind DFDC had rolling negative dividend change rates (DCR) calculated for 4 quarters and even negative annual DCR for regular dividends (4).

    (click to enlarge)

    Fig. 1. Comparison of SPY dividends (per unit) and regular DFDC dividends during holding period (12/31/2007-3/30/2012).

    Table 1. Dividend change rates for DFDC.

    While both portfolio prices dropped (4.2% for SPY and 4.85% for DFDC) during the holding period a SPY investor collected only about 63% of total dividends a DFDC investor received (about 77% of regular DFDC dividends). Hence a SPY investor underperforms a DFDC investor. Nevertheless this result probably is not important because S&P500 index is not designed for dividend investing. Therefore I compared DFDC performance with FUN-Ds selected by name as described above.

    Dividends from DFDC were $734.15 during the holding period including $ 130.96 special dividends. Analysis of dividends distributions shows that some FUN-Ds paid special dividends and payments of many FUN-Ds included Capital Gains Distributions (it seems Yahoo does not separate them from Income Distributions). Hence total Distributions for FUN-Ds and total DFDC dividends are considered in income streams.

    Results are presented in table 2. The first column shows FUN-Ds symbols. The second column shows total dividends extracted from each investment vehicle after investment of $6401.27 in each of these 12/31/2007 till 03/30/2012. The third column compares amount of dividends from the second column for different FUN-Ds with income from DFDC. Red numbers in these columns show FUN-D income underperformance to compare with "blind" Dividend Champions portfolio DFDC. The forth column compares prices at the ends of holding period, numbers in red indicate losses. The last fifth column shows total gains (in black or green) or losses (in red).

    On the first glance some FUN-Ds outperform DFDC but with average annual fee 1.25% (and unfortunately most of outperformed FUN-Ds have also ~ 4% load) we need to deduct ~ 5% from FUN-Ds results. Total investment returns in the last column in green indicate that FUN-D outperformed DFDC at least 6% (I choose this number here to compensate FUN-Ds charges).

    (click to enlarge)

    Table 2. FUN-Ds and DFDC performances.

    Analysis and Conclusions

    Although only 88 companies from original 2007 list of Dividend Champions keep status of Dividend Champions now according to very restrictive David Fish rules, DFDC outperformed S&P500 and many dividend FUN-Ds. Total return oriented DG investor might consider SunAmerica Focused Dividend Strategy A Fund and Franklin Rising Dividends A Fund (FDSAX and FRDPX) instead of self-made portfolio. Both FDSAX and FRDPX had positive capital gains and delivered more dividends than DFDC during the holding period before fees and other charges. Comparison of these FUN-Ds dividends per unit (right scale) and total DFDC dividends (left scale) is shown in figs. 2 on quarterly and annual bases (FRDPX paid only annual dividends).

    (click to enlarge)

    Fig. 2A: DFDC vs. FDSAX: Quarterly dividends.

    (click to enlarge)

    Fig. 2B: DFDC vs. the best FUN-Ds: Annual dividends.

    Unfortunately, both these FUN-Ds both as well as similar mutual funds in their families are quite expensive, so I doubt that they are really better choice than DFDC for a DG investor.

    As already stated DFDC is the passive portfolio. In reality a DG investor was able to detect some (but not all) possible dividend omissions and cuts, sell stocks of such companies and invest for example in Dividend Champions missed in original 2007 list.

    On another hand, most of DG investors probably prefer some selection (e.g. stocks with high yield or strong positive DCR) from David Fish list of Dividend Champions instead of blind market-weighted equal number of stocks DFDC portfolio (5).

    Last 4+ years probably were one of most difficult for dividend growth investing because of multiple dividend omissions, cuts and freezes. Also market weighted portfolio is probably not optimal for a dividend -oriented investing (6). Nevertheless DFDC provided reasonable good return for investors (total gain about 6%).

    I'm grateful David Fish for discussion.


    (1) Inclusion of these companies improves slightly performance of Dividend Champions portfolio in terms of dividends and price appreciation.

    (2) Yahoo doesn't provide prices for BUD, ENSI, FPU, HNBC, ROH, WWY, HB on 12/31/2007 because mergers and acquisitions (see footnote 3). I took prices for these stocks as they listed on 01/15/2008 from David Fish list of Dividend Champions for January 2008.

    (3) Hillenbrand Industries (HB) was separated into 2 companies Hillenbrand and Hill-Rom (HRC & HI). I presume that one HB stock was converted into one HI and one HRC stocks and use their prices on 3/30/2012 and dividends from these companies from split in 2008 till 3/30/2012.

    Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) was acquired in 2008 by InBev and became ADR IPO. I presume that one Anheuser-Busch stock was converted into one Anheuser-Busch InBev SA stock, both with the same symbol BUD. David fish (personal communication) noted that "original BUD I believe was bought out for cash and new ADR BUD may not be a 1-for-1."

    Under the merger agreement each common share of Florida Public Utilities (NYSE:FUN) converted into 0.405 shares of Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) common stock on 29 October 2009 (open price $30.68). I assume that DFDC investor immediately sold CPK.

    ENSI was acquired for $61.50/share cash by Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE).

    First Niagara Financial Group Inc. (NASDAQ:FNFG) exchanged 0.474 share of their common stock for each outstanding common share of Harleysville National Corp. (HNBC) on 4/9/2010 (open price $14.66). I assume that DFDC investor immediately sold FNFG.

    Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) acquired Rohm and Haas (ROH) for $63 per share in cash (

    The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (WWY) merged with Mars, Incorporated, Mars paid $80 cash for each WWY share (

    (4) IMO special dividends should not be counted in dividend change rates DCRs. See for DCR role in DG investing.

    (5) Of course "1 stock each" portfolio is not rational because trading cost of 4+ years round trip is about 30% of investment.

    (6) I'd cover this topic in another SA post.

    Apr 16 4:50 PM | Link | 4 Comments
  • A Fool And Free Money (27 Feb 2012)

    When I was a child my parents told me a fairytale about a funny land over the horizon. In this land a fool plants small amounts of money into the soil and hopes that money trees grow producing big harvests of free money.
    When I was young I was foolish enough to want to move to the funny land over the horizon where the money trees grew, naively believing that I could find these wonderful money trees and plant them in my own orchard.
    Strangely, some aborigines of this land heard about money trees and a small fraction of them even tried to plant their money on these trees. But it seems that even the most enthusiastic planters did not fully trust the fairytale and lowered their expectations to only grow only 10% of their money on the wonderful money trees (see footnote 1).
    Initially I thought that this made sense, and I joined the community of planters and attempted to seed the trees with small but growing money fruits.
    Then recently I told my young four-year-old son the fairytale about a funny land over the horizon with free money on the trees. He asked me: "Dad - will I find such trees?" I said "Sure and I'll help you."
    When I had excess money not needed for my sons "toys and candies" (see footnote 2) I started to invest my own money (mostly in mutual funds). However, it took me several years of intensive reading of finance literature and independent thinking (footnote 3) about stocks to prepare and become ready to help my son who is a bit older than 4 now. Now I am older and wiser as well and I feel it's time to suggest to my son that he not trust his hard-earned money to so-called certified financial pundits who I am convinced do not know any more about stocks and finance than I now do.
    Let's quit fiction now and move on to the real world of finance and look at dividend paying stocks that I believe may be the closest thing to the fairy tale free money trees that exist in the real world. Here is a simple 7-step instruction how to plant real free money trees, better known as dividend growth stocks.
    1) Diligently and methodically save a portion of your money (earnings)
    2) Select solid companies with growing dividends and earnings
    3) Plant a whole orchard, i.e. invest 3% or less of your money into any single company-in other words diversify (see footnote 4)
    4) Hold until the price of any company's stock increases at least twofold (see footnote 5)
    e) Sell half of any stock with 100% or higher gain
    f) Enjoy the free money (dividends on zero cost) that grow on your free money trees (dividend growth stocks)
    g) Always plant new trees in the spring (bear market) and harvest trees in the autumn (bull market)
    Since I was wise enough to start young, some of my money trees (dividend growth stocks) are already bearing fruit (increasing dividends). Hopefully, my son will soon have his own orchard full of free money trees (dividend growth stocks) bearing succulent fruits (growing dividends). Hopefully, my little story of the free money trees will inspire some of you to plant your own money tree orchards. However, never forget that not all money trees bear fruit (sometimes you can lose your money), so be wise and diversify.

    The author is grateful to Chuck Carnevale for proofreading.


    1. These aborigines call the ripening fruit on the money trees growing dividends or yield on cost (YOC = increasing dividends/initial stock price) but some aborigines are so funny that they still endlessly debate current yield over yield on cost (see
    2. When I came to the funny land over the horizon (the zany world of finance) my knowledge about real world economics, finance and the stock market was the same as a newborn baby. I grew up quickly, studied hard, and after 4 years of my life in the funny land of finance,I applied my learned skills and started to invest.
    3. Bertrand Russell, a famous British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic, might have been thinking about finance pundits when he wrote "Most people would rather die than think".
    4. About 3% of Dividend growth stocks cut their dividends - see - see so be prepared that some of your money trees maybe lemons.
    5. I assume zero inflation and broker fees. For taxable accounts more than 2X price appreciation is needed.

    Mar 29 12:51 AM | Link | 8 Comments
  • Don’t Be Silent 27 March 2012

    As a small investor I can vote but I don't do it. Official company issues are voted based on capital weight, so my voice is almost zero to compare with institutional voices whose hold million times more shares than I have.
    But in some aspects (in particular dividend policy) my and institutional voices are equal weighted but institutions talk with company management while individual investors are often silent.

    IMO, we should and can influence companies with good dividend policies (e.g. company with positive DCR from David Fish CCC list) and communicate them our appreciation of their dividends.

    It takes only couple minutes to send email like this to investor relations:

    I really appreciate COMPANY dividend policy and think that your company did terrific job for shareholders. I hope that Board will be able to increase dividends in future. Please pass this message to your top management and Board as a voice of small but long-term ABCD investor.

    I did it couple times after company announced dividend increase.

    I believe that in difficult times than company need to decide about dividends CEO, CFO and Board will count your voice and message like one above as strong as other voices.

    Tags: dividends
    Mar 27 2:33 PM | Link | 6 Comments
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