Seeking Alpha

The R.I.P. Portfolio's Q3 2019 Update

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Includes: AAPL, ACN, AMGN, BABA, BAC, BHF, BHGE, BRK.B, C, CAH, CLDR, CRL, CSCO, CTVA, DD, DGRO, DGRW, DIS, DOW, FB, FITB, FKINX, FREL, GE, GM, HON, INTC, JNJ, KEY, KR, MET, MRK, OLLI, PFE, PFG, PG, PRU, SBUX, SFTBY, SPY, SYF, T, TDOC, TGT, TWTR, UA, UTX, VZ, WAB, WNC
by: WG Investment Research
Summary

This real-money portfolio was first introduced to the Seeking Alpha community in December 2015.

The portfolio underperformed its benchmark in Q3 2019 and is still lagging the S&P 500's performance since inception. However, I believe that the portfolio is properly positioned for the future.

The financial holdings have been a major drag on the portfolio's performance but, looking out, the large financial institutions are well-positioned for the next few years.

The Retire In Peace portfolio, or R.I.P. portfolio, was first introduced to the Seeking Alpha community in December 2015 and I have published quarterly articles that captured the activity and performance of the portfolio since that point in time. The companies that I write about on SA are largely the holdings of the R.I.P. portfolio, so the main purpose for the quarterly articles is to allow for my SA followers to track the performance of the stocks that I write about on this platform.

See the article linked above for additional details on what I would like to accomplish with these quarterly updates. Additionally, the goals for the portfolio and my long-term strategy are identified in the sections below.

Quarterly Market Update

The first nine months of 2019 was kind to some investors, as the S&P 500 finished the period up over 20% (~1.7% for the most recent quarter).

Source: Q3 2019 Market ChartBook, Baird Private Wealth Management

Q3 2019 turned out to be a decent (and volatile) quarter from a total return perspective, but a few sectors had lackluster performance.

Source: Q3 2019 Market ChartBook, Baird Private Wealth Management

And it is the same old story on a YTD basis.

Source: Q3 2019 Market ChartBook, Baird Private Wealth Management

Now bringing it back to the R.I.P. portfolio - I am heavily invested in technology (positive), industrials (negative), financials (somewhat neutral), materials (negative) and healthcare (negative) so the quarterly performance was pretty much in line with expectations, i.e., underperformed the benchmark.

And while the National Association of Business Economics, or NABE, sees slower growth and rising recession risks in the years ahead (see chart below), Goldman Sachs believes that the U.S. "is not close to a recession."

I tend to agree with the NABE in that I believe that the underlying fundamentals may be telegraphing a slowdown in the nearish future. I have been in risk-off mode and repositioning the R.I.P. portfolio for a slowdown since mid-2018 so the next quarter or two should be more of the same, of course, unless there is a market meltdown.

In this article, I will highlight the recent changes to the R.I.P. portfolio and describe how the portfolio performed for the most recent period-end.

The R.I.P. Portfolio's Goals And Strategy

I am building this portfolio with retirement in mind, so I have 30-plus years to invest and make adjustments; therefore, the quarterly [and annual] volatility is not a major concern. These funds will stay in the market for the foreseeable future, so the portfolio will have the luxury of compounding for many years.

"Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it... he who doesn't, pays it." - Anonymous

It is also important to note that this is a real-money portfolio. The R.I.P. portfolio consists of five different accounts: a Roth IRA, a Traditional IRA, and three taxable brokerage accounts. These are not my family's main retirement assets, but it is a portfolio that I hope will greatly contribute to a stress-free and relaxing retirement.

The Goals and Strategy section was last updated in January 2018.

Main Investments (i.e., core holdings) - The companies that are considered core holdings should have established management teams that have proven track records of creating value. Furthermore, the companies should have competitive moats and be above-average operators within the respective industries. The core holdings are mainly large cap companies that are widely held by the financial community and this is by design.

Goals & Strategy - The portfolio seeks primarily long-term capital appreciation by investing mainly in equity securities of high-quality companies that have already shown the ability to produce sustainable earnings growth.

The portfolio aims to beat the benchmark, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), by at least 1% on an annual basis.

Missing out on short-term gains and/or having paper losses are not my main concerns, because I plan to stay committed to my long-term strategy of utilizing a bottoms-up investing philosophy to select companies that I plan to hold for many years.

The portfolio has the following allocation targets and acceptable ranges:

Industry Target Allocations Acceptable Range
Industrials/Conglomerates 15% 10-20%
Healthcare 10% 5-15%
Financials 10% 5-20%
Insurance 5% 3-7%
Technology 10% 5-15%
Communication Services 15% 10-20%
Basic Materials 5% 3-7%
Funds 15% 10-20%
Consumer 10% 5-15%
Other* 5% 0-10%

* The Other category comprises of speculative investments in companies that have the potential to create outsized gains over the next three-to-five years (what I like to refer to as "investing in seedlings"). The investments within this category could eventually become longer-ranged holdings if after further analysis it is determined that the companies indeed have the attributes that I look for.

Contributions - I plan to contribute between $1,000 and $2,500 of new capital per month to the portfolio and I typically put the new capital to work each and every month, regardless of the performance of the broader market.

Q3 2019 Update

Below you will find the portfolio and its performance, and the activity for the third quarter of 2019.

Company Ticker # of shares Price At 9/30/2019 Beg. Value - 7/1/2019 Activity - Purchases (Sales) Quarterly Unrealized G/L Quarterly Realized G/L Current Value Unrealized Gain (Loss) Portfolio Weighting YOC Current Yield Annual Income
General Electric (GE) 439.229 $8.94 $4,126 $480 $(680) - $3,927 $(3,881) 2% 0.2% 0.4% $18
Westinghouse Air Brake Tech. (WAB) 15.08 71.86 1,080 - 3 - 1,083 89 1% 0.7% 0.7% 7
Baker Hughes (BHGE) 25.00 23.20 616 - (36) - 580 (347) 0% 1.9% 3.1% 18
Honeywell (HON) 48.48 169.20 8,423 - (220) - 8,203 2,698 5% 3.2% 2.1% 175
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) 21.00 208.02 4,477 - (108) - 4,368 184 3% 0.0% 0.0% -
United Technologies (UTX) 25.91 136.52 3,355 - 182 - 3,537 398 2% 2.4% 2.2% 76
AT&T (T) 196.60 37.84 10,307 (3,854) 987 105 7,439 2,474 5% 8.1% 5.4% 401
Verizon (VZ) 53.19 60.36 3,012 - 198 - 3,210 944 2% 5.8% 4.1% 131
Franklin Income (FKINX) 2726.22 2.30 6,243 - 28 - 6,270 1,436 4% 6.8% 5.2% 327
WisdomTree US Divi Growth ETF (DGRW) 123.38 45.09 5,104 270 190 - 5,563 592 3% 2.4% 1.8% 101
iShares Core Divi Growth ETF (DGRO) 98.64 39.14 3,251 505 105 - 3,861 368 2% 2.3% 2.3% 88
Fidelity MSCI Real Estate ETF (FREL) 89.32 27.90 1,822 509 161 - 2,492 199 2% 4.8% 4.8% 120
Walt Disney (DIS) 34.06 130.32 4,728 - (288) - 4,439 1,855 3% 2.3% 1.4% 60
Bank of America (BAC) 427.78 29.17 12,330 - 149 - 12,478 5,966 8% 4.7% 2.5% 308
Citigroup (C) 51.42 69.08 3,572 - (20) - 3,552 1,128 2% 4.3% 3.0% 105
KeyCorp (KEY) 84.62 17.84 1,487 - 23 - 1,510 634 1% 7.2% 4.1% 63
Fifth Third Bank (FITB) 3.60 27.38 78 - 21 - 99 42 0% 6.1% 3.5% 3
DuPont (DD) 54.21 71.31 4,054 - (188) - 3,866 (491) 2% 1.9% 2.1% 82
Corteva (CTVA) 54.23 28.00 1,597 - (78) - 1,518 (21) 1% 1.8% 1.9% 28
Dow Chemical (DOW) 65.55 47.65 2,647 515 (38) - 3,124 (411) 2% 5.2% 5.9% 184
Synchrony Financial (SYF) 113.66 34.09 3,917 - (42) - 3,875 1,286 2% 3.9% 2.6% 100
Target (TGT) 11.63 106.91 1,003 - 240 - 1,244 583 1% 4.6% 2.5% 31
Kroger (KR) 137.77 25.78 2,501 483 568 - 3,552 2 2% 2.5% 2.5% 88
Starbucks (SBUX) 14.72 88.42 1,229 - 72 - 1,301 591 1% 2.5% 0.6% 7
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) 41.46 129.38 5,731 - (368) - 5,364 1,099 3% 3.5% 2.8% 149
Amgen Inc. (AMGN) 8.78 193.51 1,607 - 92 - 1,699 273 1% 3.6% 3.0% 51
Pfizer (PFE) 291.20 35.93 6,708 5,451 (1,696) - 10,463 525 6% 4.2% 4.0% 419
Merck (MRK) 20.38 84.18 1,698 - 18 - 1,716 658 1% 4.2% 2.6% 45
Charles River Labs (CRL) 11.00 132.37 1,561 - (105) - 1,456 322 1% 0.0% 0.0% -
Teladoc (TDOC) 32.00 67.72 1,594 509 64 - 2,167 430 1% 0.0% 0.0% -
Cardinal Health (CAH) 6.47 47.19 302 - 4 - 305 (134) 0% 2.8% 4.1% 12
AIG warrants AIGWS 27.00 14.30 334 - 52 - 386 (106) 0% 0.0% 0.0% -
MetLife (MET) 56.91 47.16 2,801 (4) (113) 4 2,684 893 2% 5.6% 3.7% 100
Prudential Financial (PRU) 12.13 89.95 1,210 - (120) - 1,091 (5) 1% 4.4% 4.4% 49
Brighthouse Financial (BHF) 4.00 40.47 147 - 15 - 162 (28) 0% 0.0% 0.0% -
Principal Financial Group (PFG) 1.05 57.14 60 - (0) - 60 6 0% 4.3% 3.9% 2
Apple (AAPL) 22.03 223.97 4,343 - 590 - 4,933 2,463 3% 2.7% 1.4% 68
Twitter (TWTR) 111.00 41.20 3,874 - 699 - 4,573 2,641 3% 0.0% 0.0% -
Facebook (FB) 7.00 178.08 1,351 - (104) - 1,247 79 1% 0.0% 0.0% -
Cisco (CSCO) 123.56 49.41 6,731 - (626) - 6,105 3,126 4% 5.8% 2.8% 173
Intel (INTC) 79.83 51.53 3,798 - 315 - 4,114 1,243 3% 3.5% 2.4% 101
SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) 47.00 19.57 575 504 (159) - 920 (88) 1% 0.0% 0.0% -
Cloudera (CLDR) 59.00 8.86 310 - 212 - 523 190 0% 0.0% 0.0% -
Accenture plc (ACN) 5.23 192.35 966 - 40 - 1,005 429 1% 2.9% 1.7% 17
General Motors (GM) 118.41 37.48 4,529 - (91) - 4,438 753 3% 4.9% 4.1% 180
Procter & Gamble (PG) 8.73 124.38 951 - 135 - 1,085 444 1% 4.1% 2.4% 26
Ollie's Bargain Outlet (OLLI) 8.00 58.64 - 476 (6) - 469 (6) 0% 0.0% 0.0% -
Alibaba (BABA) 1.00 167.23 169 - (2) - 167 43 0% 0.0% 0.0% -
Wabash National Corp. (WNC) 78.60 14.51 1,032 199 (90) - 1,140 60 1% 2.3% 2.2% 25
Under Armour (UA) 104.00 18.13 2,309 - (423) - 1,886 277 1% 0.0% 0.0% -
Other* -- -- -- 10,333 765 (1,216) - 9,882 (483) 6% 1.6% 1.5% 151
CASH -- -- -- 30 (23) -- -- 7 -- 0% -- -- --
$156,012 $6,784 $(1,658) $109 $161,138 $31,423 100% 3.2% 2.5% $4,089
Industry/Portfolio Companies Value Portfolio Weighting Goal Weighting Over (Under)
Industrials/Conglomerates - GE, HON, BHI, WNC, BRK.B, SFTBY, UTX, WAB $23,759.02 15% 15% 0%
Healthcare - JNJ, PFE, AMGN, CAH, MRK, CRL, TDOC 23,169.74 14% 10% 4%
Financials - BAC, C, KEY, FITB 17,638.56 11% 10% 1%
Insurance - AIG*, MET, BHF, PRU, PFG 4,382.98 3% 5% -2%
Technology - AAPL, CSCO, INTC, ACN, CLDR 16,680.11 10% 10% 0%
Communication Services - T, VZ, DIS, TWTR, FB 20,908.70 13% 15% -2%
Basic Materials - DD, DOW, CTVA 8,508.12 5% 5% 0%
Funds - FKINX, DGRW, DGRO, FREL 18,186.43 11% 15% -4%
Consumer - KR, GM, TGT, UA, BABA, PG, SBUX, SYF, OLLI 18,016.46 11% 10% 1%
Other - XIN, RHE, FSI, MTZ, AVD, GPRE, KTOS, TSLA, GE call options, APPN, Z, NIO, GTX, REZI, APRN, LYFT, UBER 9,881.62 6% 5% 1%
Cash 6.59 0% 0% 0%
*AIG TARP warrants included in value and weighting

Sales, Purchases & Dividend Activity

Current Makeup Of Portfolio

Below is a graphic from Morningstar that captures a high-level snapshot of the R.I.P. portfolio as of the period-end.

Full Disclosure: The AIG Tarp warrants and GE options are not included in this Morningstar analysis.

There are a few data points that should be highlighted: the holdings of the R.I.P. portfolio are attractively valued when compared to the S&P 500 on a price-to-prospective earnings basis but, in the same breath, the portfolio holdings also have significantly lower-than-average ROA and ROE ratios. Moreover, the portfolio's projected EPS growth over the next five years is now slightly above the average for the S&P 500.

Lastly, the R.I.P. portfolio is highly levered to cyclical companies and Large Cap value still makes up approximately 54% of the total assets (down from 60% at the end of fiscal 2018).

Portfolio Performance for the current period and since the portfolio was first introduced to SA community (December 4, 2015)

Return (Q3'19) Return (YTD) Return (Intro) Return On Invested Capital (Review)
-1.0% 15.8% 32.0% 42.2%
This period YTD Since Intro Since Intro
Beg. Balance $156,012 $124,676 $52,610 Initial Value $46,042
Contributions 6,784 15,552 79,014 Contributions 79,014
Unrealized G/L (1,658) 20,910 29,514 Realized G/L 4,660
Ending Balance $161,138 $161,138 $161,138 Unrealized G/L 31,423
Portfolio Bal. $161,138
Dividend Inc. $1,059 $3,217 $11,154
Realized G/L 109 1,057 4,660 Dividend Income $11,154

Full Disclosure: The American Association of Individual Investors, or AAii, prescribed calculation (The Beginning Vs. the End) was used for calculating the portfolio's return for each period-end.

From an income standpoint, the portfolio's annual dividend income has grown significantly since 2016 (portfolio was first introduced in December 2015).

Note: Q4 2019 is a projection based on: (1) expected contributions to portfolio and (2) estimated growth in dividends.

The portfolio's dividend income was $1,059 for Q3 2019, which is slightly higher than the year-ago quarter ($988 in Q3 2018). The portfolio's projected dividend income for 2019 is approximately 18% higher than the total income received in 2018 and this estimate may actually turn out to be too conservative. It should also be noted that I do not have a specific income goal for the portfolio, but I have purposefully focused on investing in high-quality dividend paying stocks since late-2015.

For the most important metric, the R.I.P. portfolio has underperformed its benchmark since the portfolio was introduced to the SA community on December 4, 2015. Q3 2019 was a disappointment as the portfolio again underperformed the S&P 500 over the last three months. Moreover, the portfolio went from outperforming its benchmark throughout 2017 to underperforming it since early 2018.

There are 2 main factors that contributed to the portfolio's underperformance (let me stress that these are reasons, not excuses): the portfolio has a value-tilt and is overweight financials and healthcare - both factors have been out of favor for several years now. See my full-year 2018 article for additional detail on these contributing factors.

During the most recent quarter, the top performers and underperformers for the portfolio were: Performers - [1] AT&T, [2] Twitter, and [3] Apple; Underperformers - [1] Pfizer, [2] General Electric, and [3] Cisco.

I consistently write about all of these positions so please see my current thoughts on each company/stock at my Seeking Alpha profile.

Noteworthy Quarterly News

Buybacks and/or Dividend News:

  1. Procter & Gamble increased its quarterly dividend by 4% (from $0.7171 to $0.7459), which brings the forward dividend yield 2.46% based on today's price.
  2. KeyCorp increased its quarterly dividend by 8.8% (from $0.17 to $0.185), which brings the forward dividend yield 4.34% based on today's price.
  3. Synchrony Financial increased its quarterly dividend by 4.8% (from $0.21 to $0.22), which brings the forward dividend yield 2.65% based on today's price.
  4. Principal Financial increased its quarterly dividend by 1.9% (from $0.54 to $0.55), which brings the forward dividend yield 4.10% based on today's price.
  5. Verizon increased its quarterly dividend by 2.1% (from $0.6025 to $0.6150), which brings the forward dividend yield 4.18% based on today's price.
  6. Accenture initiated its first quarterly dividend of $0.80, which was a 10% increase from the prior semi-annual dividend. The forward dividend yield is 2.01% based on today's price.
  7. Honeywell increased its quarterly dividend by 9.8% (from $0.82 to $0.90), which brings the forward dividend yield 2.23% based on today's price.

Looking Ahead: It's Not About Tomorrow, It's About 10+ Years From Now

In a broader context, I have been positioning the R.I.P. portfolio to capitalize on three major trends:

  1. the digitalization megatrend, which includes autonomous cars and the Internet Of Things industry;
  2. a rising interest rate environment (although this trend may not actually happen in the next year or two); and
  3. the changing media space, which includes how companies will be structured and how content will be consumed by/distributed to customers.

See this quarterly update article for detailed explanations for my thoughts on each of the major trends. The following companies in my stock universe are the ones that I see being the biggest beneficiaries of these trends:

  1. Digitalization - Cisco, Intel, Apple, Accenture, General Electric, Honeywell, AT&T, and Verizon.
  2. Rising Rates - Bank of America, Citigroup, KeyBank, Fifth Third, AIG, Principal Financial, Prudential and MetLife.
  3. Media Shift - Disney, Twitter, AT&T, Facebook, and Verizon.

Final Thoughts

I am looking forward to 2020 and what the next few quarters may bring. Again, I have been in risk-off mode since mid-2018 and I believe that it will pay huge dividends over the next 18-24 months. While the broader market may not rise as much as some experts are calling for after posting an impressive 20% rise over the last 9 months, I do believe that R.I.P. portfolio will post solid returns over the next four quarters.

The portfolio's value-tilt, including the heavy investments in the financial and healthcare sectors, have been out-of-favor for a while now but I believe that it will be a different story as we head into 2020. Bank of America and Pfizer will likely have the greatest impact to the portfolio's outperformance over the next few quarters.

Author's Note: I plan to still write about these companies on a regular basis so please consider following me if you would like to stay updated. And lastly, I always have these two quotes in mind whenever I make an investment decision:

"Behind every stock is a company. Find out what it's doing." - Peter Lynch

"Successful investing takes time, discipline and patience. No matter how great the talent or effort, some things just take time..." - Warren Buffett

Disclosure: I am/we are long GE, WAB, BHGE, HON, BRK.B, UTX, T, VZ, FKINX, DGRW, DGRO, FREL, DIS, BAC, C, KEY, FITB, DD, CTVA, DOW, SYF, TGT, KR, SBUX, JNJ, AMGN, PFE, MRK, CRL, TDOC, CAH, MET, PRU, BHF, APPL, TWTR, FB, CSCO, INTC, SFTBY, CLDR, ACN, GM, PG, OLLI, BABA, WNC, UA. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.