High Yield Dividend Champion Portfolio Update

by: Scott's Investments

In December 2010, I created a screen/hypothetical portfolio called the “High Yield Dividend Champion Portfolio.” The screen is tracked publicly as a continuous hypothetical portfolio with a starting balance of $100,000 on Scott’s Investments.

Like many of the screens, strategies, and portfolios I track and prefer, the High Yield Dividend Champion Portfolio uses a small number of historically relevant ideas to create a simple, yet powerful investment plan. As I previously detailed, “Some studies have shown that the, highest yielding, low payout stocks perform better over time than stocks with higher payouts and lower yields.”

The High Yield Dividend Champion Portfolio attempts to capture the best high yield, low payout stocks with a history of raising dividends. There are numerous ways to rank high yield/low payout stocks. The screening process for this portfolio starts with the “Dividend Champions” as compiled by DRIP Investing. The list is comprised of stocks that have increased their dividend payout for at least 25 consecutive years.

In January I announced some changes to the ranking system. The changes were not due to poor performance – the strategy has returned over 60% since late 2010.

We still begin with the Dividend Champion list. The list is first sorted by yield and the lowest 50% yielding stocks are eliminated. Eliminating the lowest yielding stocks ensures only stocks with a “high” yield make the portfolio.

The remaining stocks are then assigned a rank based on their yield (the higher the yield the higher the rank), payout ratio (the lower the payout ratio the higher the rank), 3 year dividend growth rate, and 5/10 year Dividend Acceleration/Deceleration (5-year average increase divided by 10-year average increase). Extra weight is given to yield and payout ratio rankings.

The top 10 stocks based on the new ranking system make the portfolio. Stocks will be sold at the re-balance date (generally around the 5th of the month) when they drop out of the top 15 (to limit turnover) and are replaced with the next highest rated stock.

This month there is no turnover. Universal Corp (NYSE:UVV) was close to elimination, but since it is currently tied for 15th it remains in the portfolio. UVV has been in the portfolio since 4/5/12, and has appreciated over 30% (excluding dividends) as a holding.

(Chart courtesy of Portfolio123)

(Click to enlarge)

The top 17 stocks based on my ranking methodology are below and displayed in order of their overall ranking (figures are May month-end):

Name Symbol Yield Payout 5-10 A/D 3-yr
WGL Holdings Inc. WGL 3.91 55.45 1.35 2.89
Chevron Corp. CVX 3.26 30.23 0.96 9.68
American States Water AWR 3.05 54.36 1.53 7.93
Altria Group Inc. MO 4.88 81.48 1.25 8.71
UGI Corp. UGI 2.96 51.36 1.15 10.53
ExxonMobil Corp. XOM 2.79 25.69 1.08 9.51
Tompkins Financial Corp. TMP 3.66 59.61 0.84 5.70
Air Products & Chem. APD 3.01 57.03 0.94 11.78
Leggett & Platt Inc. LEG 3.63 67.84 1.15 3.81
California Water Service CWT 3.24 57.66 1.41 2.21
Northwest Natural Gas NWN 4.26 86.26 1.24 3.81
Clorox Company CLX 3.42 66.51 0.91 8.91
Genuine Parts Co. GPC 2.77 51.93 1.17 6.76
Weyco Group Inc. WEYS 2.99 42.86 0.71 4.40
Conn. Water Service CTWS 3.42 62.18 1.28 2.17
Universal Corp. UVV 3.41 43.01 0.58 2.13
Questar Corp. STR 2.96 60.50 1.03 9.61

The current portfolio is below:

Position Purchase Price Purchase Date Percentage Gain/Loss Excluding Dividends
CVX 106.45 12/6/2012 13.28%
WGL 38.61 12/6/2012 12.15%
GPC 65.63 1/7/2013 15.65%
UVV 45.55 4/5/2012 30.08%
CWT 19.74 4/5/2013 0.76%
APD 87.49 2/5/2013 8.07%
XOM 89.01 4/5/2013 1.37%
MO 34.24 3/5/2013 4.59%
TMP 40.6 5/3/2013 3.33%
NWN 44.24 4/5/2013 -2.83%

Disclosure: None