Seeking Alpha

smlaker

smlaker
Send Message
View as an RSS Feed
View smlaker's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest  |  Highest rated
  • DGI 2015 Candidate List - Adding Health Care And Materials Stocks [View article]
    Earl, thanks for including the entire list to date (at the end of the article). That saves a lot of searching on the part of your readers. I do have a question.

    Since this process is ongoing, and some of the information is going to be "out of date" by the time you finish the last two sectors, how do you handle that personally, before finally making a buy decision, say two or three months from now?

    The reason I ask is GE recently announced, among other things, a dividend freeze through 2016, meaning their stay on the CCC list will be just a year or so. They would not qualify, based on "story" either, since an announced dividend freeze would knock them off most any traditional dividend growth list.

    I'm sure others will also have similar problems crop up over the year.

    SM
    Apr 26, 2015. 05:01 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Aiming My Sights On A Beaten-Down STAG Industrial [View article]
    I hate to pop everyone's bubble, but the poor performance can be traced back solely to the fact that I bought the stock a bit over a year ago. Just my luck.

    SM
    Apr 23, 2015. 07:48 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't Buy Procter & Gamble, Buy Microsoft Instead [View article]
    Own them both. Have for years.

    SM
    Apr 21, 2015. 07:43 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why An Income Portfolio Beats Capital Gains Every Time [View article]
    IT, I didn't get much out of this article because you don't do any true comparisons nor do you provide quantifiable data. I don't discount your conclusion that Dow Chemical failed to meet your eight criteria. What I do discount is the fact that you don't show any data to substantiate that conclusion.

    When you can teach me why Dow Chemical was doomed to be a failure, then I will have learned something.

    Even then, you do not present any methods of employing your eight points to make a stock selection now, so how am I to extrapolate them to another possible list of choices I might be considering today?

    My only conclusion can be that your article is tainted by "survivorship bias". Sure, looking back I can see why KO was a better investment through 2008-2015 than DOW. What I can't see is how your methodology would have predicted that, or how it would help me today, which is really what is important.

    SM
    Apr 19, 2015. 02:08 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Farmland REIT Is Growing Like A Weed [View article]
    aclynch. I looked at the numbers and that's the first thing I noticed. It looked more like purchasing interest in a gold-mining claim than common crop land.

    I have a former boss (retired), who bought four full-sized family farms in Missouri over the last several years (going back to roughly 2010) as an investment and he paid substantially less than these numbers indicate. Plus, the government is paying him to "not plant", which makes his mortgage payments. It's a strange business, to be sure.

    Also, what happens when the farmers have a crop failure. They might have paid upfront, although I don't see how the average sharecropper can do that, but they won't be around to plant the next year's crop when they are financially broke.

    Somehow I don't think investing where "acts of god" are one of the biggest risks, is the right thing for me.

    SM
    Apr 18, 2015. 05:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE: At 19 Times My 2016 Earnings Estimate It's Time To Sell And Move On [View article]
    No company freezes its dividend on me and gets away with it. OK, perhaps that was a bit dramatic. Nonetheless, GE was but a short-term (8 months and 13% gain) investment for me.

    I wish all of those good luck who will stay the course. If I weren't so near to the distribution phase, I might have given it a couple of years to see what will happen. As it is, I really think there will be better buying opportunities between now and then as people get tired of waiting for "the turnaround", and start to sell in ever larger numbers.

    As for me, I will ramp up my purchases of EMC and ETN, both companies that haven't yet developed an identity crisis, as GE has.

    SM
    Apr 17, 2015. 10:27 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Risk Versus Reward For High Income, Preferred Stock Funds [View article]
    Thanks John, more good ideas. Since I am reading this several months after it was written, have your recommendations changed at all since then?

    Still looking for ways to park my money in between buying/selling positions of longer-term dividend growth stocks.

    Thanks in advance,

    SM
    Apr 17, 2015. 10:12 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Make Over 6% Income With Utility CEFs [View article]
    Jerbear/John, the things you list; relatively poor liquidity, the asset class falling out of favor, some leverage are all things I deal with constantly with other investment vehicles, such as BDCs and smaller traded REITs, so this is not new.

    If that's the worst of it, I do prefer a managed CEF to a passive ETF. The yield, while not earth-shattering, is certainly better than sitting on a pile of cash (my so-called rainy day fund), and the CEF is heads and shoulders above the ETF in that respect.

    I'll perhaps split up part of that fund between UTG and UTF, leaving enough in cash (MMF) for only the most dire of emergencies.

    Thanks for the tutorial folks. It's been a good lesson for me.

    SM
    Apr 17, 2015. 08:19 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Perfect Portfolio For Retirement Is An Illusion [View article]
    Regarded, what is your take on PGs rather muted dividend increase. It appears that for at least the next 12 months, it has entered the realm of "dead money", with the likes of T, GE (for 2 years), WMT and a host of others.

    I have to believe that even large single-digit dividend increases are going the way of the defined-benefit pension plan or employer-funded retirement health insurance, at least for the time being.

    Fewer and fewer of the stalwarts able to keep up the pace of the last few years. Barely covering inflation, if that.

    SM
    Apr 17, 2015. 05:56 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Make Over 6% Income With Utility CEFs [View article]
    John, that was quick! Thanks for the response and the great article.

    Something still seems too good to be true. That still leaves me wondering why one would even care what the so-called "total expenses" actually turn out to be for any given CEF. Why do I care what the fund expenses are? Why don't I just go straight to the "bottom line", so to speak, and look at what appear to be the only four important issues:

    1) Volatility
    2) Published Distributions (since they are net expenses)
    3) Whether I am getting ROC (my money is in a tax-sheltered account. I prefer to not get back my own principal, i.e. cannibalizing the fund to make the distributions)
    4) Discount to NAV.

    Am I really going to get a 6% annual distribution, paid monthly by UTG, and will I be doing so while buying (today that is) at a discount to NAV of roughly 6%, which is higher than the historical discount of 3.7%.

    Call me a skeptic, but, with the market just a tick off of the all time high, how are so-called utilities able to be priced at such a discount and pay such a high income rate of 6%, and not be giving me ROC at the same time to hold up the distribution? Yes, I understand there is some leverage, but that just doesn't seem to pull the numbers up to 7.7% (adding back the 1.7% the fund takes out before paying the distributions). And why the higher-than-normal discount to NAV, with the market knocking on the door of new highs and such a great deal to be had, in this time of ZIRP?

    It seems like the proverbial free lunch, or better said, all upside and no downside.

    What am I missing? There has to be something! I have read a bunch of dissertations on CEFs, and the math just doesn't seem to add up.

    Thanks in advance,

    SM
    Apr 17, 2015. 04:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Make Over 6% Income With Utility CEFs [View article]
    John, your two top recommendations have distribution rates of 7% (UTF) and 6% (UTG), respectively.

    The expenses total 2% (UTF) and 1.7% (UTG).

    The net distribution rate appears to me to be 5% and 4.3%, respectively.

    Now, I am just starting to look at CEFs as an investment. More as a way to park cash until I need it. I hate to see inflation eat away at my money, and would be willing to suffer a bit of volatility to get away from the $0.17% of current MMFs (give or take) for most of my lazy money.

    Am I missing something? It could be that the way CEFs calculate distributions, they are net expenses. That's not true for ETFs or open-ended mutual funds, so I have to wonder why you didn't take the expenses into account when touting in your title "6% Income".

    Would you please explain? I have a lot to learn about CEFs.

    SM
    Apr 17, 2015. 04:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BDC Total Returns Q1 2015: Part 3 [View article]
    I guess I am generalizing Arthur. I bought NMFC a little over a year ago at $14.74/share, and today it is trading at $14.69, as I write this. Discounting the dividends, that's no growth. Counting the dividends, I have been given nothing more than return of capital, which is taxable.

    HTGC has, on the other hand, headed down.

    My position in MAIN was up a couple of percent before today. If dividends are subtracted, most of the dividends are again just return of capital.

    HTGC was supposed to be one of the more "stable" BDCs. I'm not seeing it.

    Again, I can take advantage of the higher yielding BDCs, mixed with some of the more "stable" (which really aren't), if I just bought BIZD and let someone else handle the headaches of making the trades. TCAP is on the CCC list, so it is a dividend grower, but the share price is down 15% over the last year or year and half, not even giving me ROC.

    Do you see my point?

    SM
    Apr 17, 2015. 02:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BDC Total Returns Q1 2015: Part 3 [View article]
    Buzz, I have become wary of the constantly-fluctuating prices (very high betas) of some of these BDCs. I haven't done well, except with MAIN. I have not owned any of the "high-yield" BDCs, just seeing a lot of fluctuation in HTGC and NMFC.

    So, my question. I have just about decided that it might be best to simply spread the risk over all BDCs using BIZD. BDCL is too risky for me.

    Any thoughts.

    SM
    Apr 16, 2015. 10:05 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 'Overdue' Dividend Increases And Other Streaks In Jeopardy [View article]
    I owned several on the list at one time, but I tend to not have a lot of patience with overdue dividend increases, especially when the company is a challenger. They just don't have the history of showing that they are committed to becoming a dividend aristocrat. So, I will sell before Dave declares them to be in arrears.

    The Canadian companies, on the other hand, were (still are) fighting an uphill battle. They were paying out more, but I was getting less. They too are history for me.

    SM
    Apr 6, 2015. 09:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • My Dividend Growth Journey Ep. 1 - Why You Should Never Chase Yield [View article]
    Younger, I'm confused as to why your positions have purchase values that are all over the map.

    I would set a target for the value per position and limit your purchases in such a way so as to reach that target.

    You are probably doing what a lot of starters do; see something you just have to have, but don't have enough cash to make a meaningful purchase. So, you buy a very small position, then something else catches your eye and you're off in another direction.

    Might I suggest doing some in-depth research before going too much further. Reading "The Single Best Investment" or David Van Knapp's yearly dividend e-book (you'll have to use 2014's) would provide you with a great deal of knowledge, which would help you to prevent future mistakes, at least those of this magnitude.

    Good luck,

    SM
    Apr 6, 2015. 08:57 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
COMMENTS STATS
364 Comments
612 Likes