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Tim's Corner: Are These 3 High Yield Plays About To Cut Their Dividend Payout?

|Includes: General Electric Company (GE), NS, WINMQ

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” - Paulo Coelho

This instablog post comes from Tim Plaehn, expert on income investing and a friend & colleague of mine at Investors Alley as well as a contributor here on SeekingAlpha. Tim runs the Dividend Hunter newsletter which offers a solid & diverse selection of attractive high yield plays. The service is now over 5,500 active subscribers and can be had HERE for the rock bottom price of $49 (It usually is $99) for the first year.  There are few better bargains around. 

Tim's Corner:

By Tim Plaehn,

On Monday, General Electric Company (NYSE: GEanswered the “will it, or won’t it” question and reduced its dividend by 50%. Even though the date of the announcement was known, and a cut was widely anticipated, the GE share price dropped by 8%. This drop comes after the 15% share price decline since 2017 third quarter earnings were released on October 20.

For dividend focused stock investors, the risk of a dividend cut is in most cases the biggest danger. A dividend reduction results in the double-whammy of a lower future income stream combined with what is often a sharp drop in the stock’s share price. At that point an investor will be forced to sell at a loss and reinvest into different stocks that likely pay a lower yield. It is common knowledge that a high stock yield indicates the market is pricing the stock for a dividend cut. The market may be mistaken, or it may be right. The challenge is to find those high yield stocks where the current dividend rate is secure and to avoid or dump the high yield stocks where a dividend reduction is likely or probable.

Here are three high yield stocks that could be dangerous to your portfolio value. Consider selling if you own and definitely do not buy to chase the current high yields.

Frontier Communications Corp (Nasdaq: FTR) currently yields over 30%! It is less than a year since the company reduced its dividend by 50%. Frontier Communications is one of the handful of regional telecom companies that have struggled to sustain revenues through the shift from landline telephone service to everyone using wireless phones.

These companies face the triple challenge of servicing large debt loads, capital spending requirements to bring their networks into the modern age where they can sell other services to offset falling landline revenues and supporting large dividend payments.

These companies have historically been viewed as income stocks, and management teams have tried without success to balance the three spending channels. Frontier Communications is a company that likely must follow Windstream Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: WIN) and completely suspend its dividend.

New Senior Investment Group (NYSE: SNR) is a healthcare sector REIT that currently yields 12.75%. This is one of the highest yields across the entire REIT sector. The company operates through two segments: Managed Properties and Triple Net Lease Properties. Under its managed properties segment, New Senior Investment invests in senior housing properties throughout the United States and engages property managers to manage those senior housing properties.

With its triple net lease segment, the company invests in senior housing and healthcare properties throughout the United States, and leases those properties to healthcare operating companies under triple net leases. New Senior Investment faces the challenge of a very high debt load and declining free cash flow. The senior housing segment also faces the potential of reduced reimbursements from government programs. The high SNR yield is not worth the risk.

NuStar Energy LP (NYSE: NS) is an energy midstream master limited partnership {MLP} that currently yields 14%. Since NuStar has been paying the same quarterly distribution for over six consecutive years, an investor might view the large payout as relatively secure.

This company’s problem stems from a $1.5 billion acquisition made earlier this year. (NS has a $2.9 billion market cap.) With the purchase, the company’s debt has ballooned to $3.7 billion and the new assets are not forecast to generate significant cash flow until sometime in late 2018.

Looking for a few more good new dividend ideas?  Tim recently put out a 10 page free report with a more in depth look at five of his favorite current high yield stocks across multiple industries. To download that free analysis, just click HERE.

Currently, due to the larger debt loan, NuStar’s distributable cash flow (NYSE:DCF) covers just 70% of the distributions paid to limited partner unit holders. With the current DCF forecasts and distribution rate, NuStar will be borrowing up to $100 million per year for a couple of years to keep paying the distribution. Investors should steer clear of any company that must borrow a lot money for an extended period to keep paying the current dividend.

Sometimes high yields serve as a strong warning to investors that a company is in trouble. But not always. Sometimes a company can be run well enough that it can afford to be generous to income investors. Sometimes a company is required by law to pay out huge dividends to investors. Those are the kinds of companies I add to my Monthly Dividend Paycheck Calendar portfolio. The average yield for the portfolio currently sits at 8%.

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” - Plato

Note: We continue to put out a couple of free in depth reports on small biotech, biopharma and medical device stocks every month.  Our last report came out Friday. To register to get this free investment analysis or to get past reports, just click HERE

Thank You & Happy Hunting,

Bret Jensen

Founder, The Biotech ForumThe Busted IPO Forum & The Insiders Forum