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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