Sunday, July 28

Month 97 - Members of "The 2 and 8 Club" in the Russell 1000 Index - July 2019

Situation: The idea here is to “beat the market” by making selective purchases of individual stocks. This is a delusion, given that the odds are less than 1 in 20 that a professional trader will (over any 10-year period) beat VOO--the ticker for the lowest cost S&P 500 Index Fund, which has an Expense Ratio of 0.03%. VOO is marketed by Vanguard

Since you have to actively trade stocks to even come close to beating VOO, trading costs will relentlessly keep you from beating the market. Those costs include brokerage fees, commissions, research time & expense, and capital gains taxes. So, this month’s blog is about an interesting game, like tennis or marriage: When you lose, you’re a fool if you take it personally.  

Mission: Run our Standard Spreadsheet for high-quality stocks in the Russell 1000 Index that have a good and growing dividend. High quality means an S&P bond rating of A- or better. A good dividend is one that gets the stock into the Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Fund (VYM). A growing dividend is one that has been 8.0%/yr (or better) over the past 5 years.

Execution: see Table.

Bottom Line: You’re toast. It isn’t going to happen. But you’ll come close to beating the market if you avoid making abstract considerations and instead follow concrete markers, such as avoiding stocks with a dividend yield plus dividend growth rate of less than 10%. And, find a way to quickly decide whether a stock is overpriced. For example, you can ask your broker if Morningstar rates the stock as being “overvalued”. Or, you can calculate the Graham Number on your smartphone. The Graham Number is what the stock’s price would be at 15 times Earnings Per Share for the trailing 12 months (TTM), multiplied Book Value for the most recent quarter (mrq). This is a power function (15 times 1.5 equals 22.5). So, you have to multiply those numbers (for the stock in question) by 22.5 before taking the square root, which is the stock’s rational price. If the stock is selling for more than 2.5 times the Graham Number, it is overpriced (see the numbers highlighted in purple at Column AB of the Table). In other words, many investors want to own the stock but relatively few owners want to sell it. You should wait for this fever to break before buying shares.

Risk Rating: 6 (where a 10-year US Treasury Note = 1, S&P 500 Index = 5, and gold = 10)

Full Disclosure: I dollar-average into NEE, JPM, CAT and IBM, and also own shares of CSCO, AMGN, TRV, CMI, MMM and BLK.

"The 2 and 8 Club" (CR) 2017 Invest Tune All rights reserved.

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Sunday, June 30

Month 96 - Watch List for S&P 100 Companies in the Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index - June 2019

Situation: All investors have an objective as well as a plan to reach that objective. I started with the objective of getting my children through college, then moved on to having a comfortable retirement. Direct stock ownership has been a key part of both plans. Why stocks? Because mutual funds are sold on the basis of long-term performance records, not safety from market crashes. But a small group of stocks are relatively safe because of being issued by a large company that reliably pays a good and growing dividend. The trick is to have a Watch List of 20-30 such companies and know “the story” behind each company.

Mission: Use our Standard Spreadsheet to evaluate companies in the S&P 100 Index that also appear in the FTSE High Dividend Yield Index, i.e., the ~400 companies in the FTSE Russell 1000 Index that reliably pay an above-market dividend. Our source document is the list of companies in VYM (the capitalization-weighted Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF,
which is the US version of the FTSE High Dividend Yield Index.

Execution: see Table showing a spreadsheet with 36 columns of information for commons stocks issued by 27 US companies.

Administration: 54 companies are common to both indexes but 27 have been  excluded from our Watch List because an item of information needed to populate a cell in the spreadsheet is missing and/or the company's S&P ratings are too low to denote above-average safety. We require an A- bond rating or better and a B+/M stock rating or better.

A key requirement is to avoid overpaying for a stock. I’m a numbers guy, so I use two numbers to decide if a stock is overpriced (where “price” or P is defined as the 50-day moving average):
   1) the 7-yr P/E is greater than 30 (see Column AD in the Table
   2) the stock’s Graham Number, which is the square root of 22.5 times EPS (Earnings Per Share) multiplied by BV/Sh (Book Value Per Share), is greater than 250% of its price (see Column AB in the Table). 

If only one of those two numbers is over the limit, the stock is still overpriced if the other number is close to the limit (more than 25 or 200%, respectively).

Another key requirement is to know whether a company's stock is a worthwhile investment, given its current price. As a starting place, I’ve devised a Basic Quality Screen that has only 6 elements and a maximum score of 4 (see Table):
   1) If price appreciation over the past 16 years has been greater than 1/3rd the risk of short-term loss as determined by the BMW method, one point is added. In other words, 16-Yr price appreciation in Column K is greater than 1/3rd the risk in Column M.
   2) If Tangible Book Value in Column S is negative and either LT-debt represents more than 50% of Total Capital (Column O), or Total Debt is more than 250% of EBITDA (Column P), one point is subtracted. 
   3) If the S&P Bond Rating in Column U is A- or better, one point is added. 
   4) If the S&P Stock Rating in Column V is B+/M or better, one point is added. 
   5) If Net Present Value of dividend growth (based on trailing 5-Yr dividend growth in Column H) and cash-out value after a 10 year Holding Period (determined by extrapolation of trailing 16-Yr price appreciation in Column K) is a positive number when applying a Discount Rate of 10% (see Column Z), one point is added. 
   6) If the two markers of an overpriced stock noted above (see Columns AB and AD) indicate that the stock is indeed overpriced, half a point is subtracted.

The final SCORE is found in Column AJ.

Bottom Line: As expected, these 27 companies have not performed as well as SPY, the S&P 500 Index ETF (see Line 29 to Line 35 at Columns C through F in the Table). But these 27 companies pay a higher dividend (Column G) and have lower price volatility (see Columns I & M) than SPY. Estimates for Net Present Value after a 10 year holding period (assuming a continuation of the trailing 5 year dividend growth rate and the trailing 16 year price growth rate and trading costs of 2.5% at the time of purchase and sale) were higher than SPY (see Column Z).  

Conclusion: These 9 stocks appear to be over-priced (see Columns AB and AD): CSCO, KO, TXN, PEP, JNJ, LMT, MMM, CL and UPS. These 12 appear to be bargain-priced “value stocks” based on Book Value, Graham Number and average 7 year P/E (see Columns AA-AE): PFE, NEE, DUK, INTC, TGT, SO, JPM, CMCSA, USB, BLK, XOM and WFC. These 10 appear to be worthwhile investments because of having a score of either 3 or 4 on our Basic Quality Screen (see Column AJ): PFE, NEE, DUK, INTC, PG, SO, JPM, WMT, CAT, BLK.

Risk Rating: 6 (where 10-Yr US Treasury Bonds = 1, S&P 500 Index = 5, and gold bullion = 10)

Full Disclosure: I dollar-average into NEE, KO, INTC, PG, JNJ, JPM, WMT, CAT and IBM. I also own shares of PFE, CSCO, DUK, SO, PEP, MMM, BLK, UPS and XOM. Note that all but two (BLK and PEP) of those 18 are in the 65-stock Dow Jones Composite Average.

"The 2 and 8 Club" (CR) 2017 Invest Tune All rights reserved.

Post questions and comments in the box below or send email to: