Eq: Large Cap
Despite all the headlines to the contrary, beware of dividend stocks right now. On the surface, dividend stocks look attractive at present, as falling rates make their yields look more attractive. However, picking the wrong ones can be very costly. For instance, the most commonly held high dividend stocks are from blue chips. The problem there is their growth is usually weak and they generally have weaker valuations than the market.
FINSUM: The wrong dividend stocks could go very badly in the current environment, so it will be wise to have a very particular strategy.
Fedex and Amazon are in the middle of an ugly spot. Anyone paying attention over the last few years will be aware of the “frenemy” relationship between Amazon and logistics providers, as the company offers a lot of business but hammers margins and is stealing away business with its own shipping network. Well, Fedex finally said enough is enough and decided against renewing its ground shipping contract with Amazon. Therein lies opportunity, however, as it should offer UPS a lot more business.
FINSUM: This is a bold move by Fedex. We expect it will hit revenue slightly, but probably not wound profits too badly. It could give UPS and USPS a boost.
Buyback stocks have developed a poor reputation recently. Stock buybacks are seen as financially irresponsible and a way for executives to manipulate earnings and share prices. While that may be true to a degree, they also happen to be a great way for companies to return money to shareholders. Additionally, and what is not well understood, is that buyback stocks have a great track record historically. Since 1995, the one hundred S&P 500 stocks with the highest level of buybacks have significantly outperformed the index, earning a 13% return versus the index’s 10%. The same is true for the Russell 3000, so it is not just a case of buybacks working for large caps.
FINSUM: Yes, buybacks may be at their highest total levels historically, but they are flat as a percentage of earnings, so buying hasn’t been any less conservative than in the past. The other good thing is that buyback stocks are usually cheaper than average.
Retirement income is such an important aspect of a financial advisor’s job, that one could reasonably argue it is the main duty of the profession. With that in mind, here are a couple ways to create lasting retirement income for clients. The first tip is simple, and every advisor should know it—delay claiming Social Security until 70, which significantly boosts annual income. Social Security is uniquely built to help protect against many of the risks of retirement, with one specialist saying “It’s indexed for inflation, it protects against longevity risk, and if the stock market crashes, it doesn’t go down”. The second part of this two-part strategy is to invest like one is still young. Since once is more hedged by greater Social Security income, one can afford to be more aggressive in markets.
FINSUM: This is a good basic strategy, though it requires working longer and a good degree of self-control.
The $36.6 bn Vanguard Dividend Growth fund (VDIGX) is finally reopening its doors to new investors. The fund has been closed to new investors for 3 years, but the manager says “After careful analysis of the fund’s current cash flows, we’re confident that there is ample capacity to reopen the fund”. The fund’s five-year annual return is 12.1%, besting the Russell 1000 by 1%. The fund’s average stock holding has a market cap of $110.6 bn, and its top five holdings are McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, American Tower, Medtronic, and Microsoft.
FINSUM: Vanguard funds are enormously popular for a reason, and this is an exceptionally well-performing fund that is finally reopening. Seems like a good buy.
By all accounts, the US car industry should be doing well. Vehicles sales have been good, unemployment is low, and gas is cheap. However, US car companies are closing factories and laying off workers and acting like we are in a big recession. Why? The answer is that their product mix and manufacturing capabilities are seriously out of touch with the market. In particular, they have far too much sedan manufacturing infrastructure in a market that no longer has much use for sedans. This is a huge problem because overcapacity is what doomed car companies in the last recession.
FINSUM: The good thing here is that the car companies are trying to be proactive in adjusting their facilities ahead of a broader downturn. However, closing factories and laying off workers following such a good run is getting a lot of negative political attention.