Monday, November 25

Month 101 - Moving the Needle: A-rated S&P 100 Companies in “The 2 and 8 Club” - November 2019

Situation: You’re now in your 50s. The “sunset years” loom ahead. While you have the advantage of being a more experienced investor, you’re losing time and may retire short of where you need to be. Even now, you need to have a “nest egg” at least 6 times your current salary. Your retirement account is likely to be 60% in stocks but that allocation falls to 50% by the time you retire. You’ll need to hold safer but more effective stocks. “The 2 and 8 Club” is one way to do that: buy stocks that carry both a higher dividend yield and a faster rate of dividend growth compared to the S&P 500 Index (SPY), i.e., stocks that yield at least 2%/yr and grow dividends at least 8%/yr. For safety, confine your picks to stocks issued by “mega-cap” companies in the S&P 100 Index. Why those? Because they’re large enough to have multiple product lines, i.e., they’re more able to respond to diverse market conditions. And, they’re required to have active hedging positions at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Those “put and call” stock options are side-bets made by professional traders, which makes “price discovery” for the underlying stocks more rational. 

Mission: Use our standard spreadsheet to analyze companies in the S&P 100 Index that a) issue debt rated at least A- by S&P, b) issue stock rated B+/M or better by S&P,  c) are listed in the U.S. version of the FTSE High Dividend Yield Index--marketed by Vanguard Group as VYM, d) have the 16+ year trading record that is needed for quantitative analysis by the BMW Method, and e) have grown their dividend at least 8%/yr for the past 5 years. 

Execution: see the 13 companies at the top of this week’s Table.

Administration: Let’s explain the Basic Quality Screen (see Column AH in the Table). The idea is to give readers a quick take on which stocks are worthwhile to consider as a new BUY. The maximum score is 4. Overpriced stocks (see Column AF) are penalized half a point. Reading from left to right across the spreadsheet, the first opportunity to score a point is found in Column K. Stocks that have a 16-yr price appreciation that is more than 1/3rd the risk of ownership (Column M) score one point. A negative value in Column S for Tangible Book Value (highlighted in purple) results in a loss of one point if the debt load is either greater than 2.5 times EBITDA (Column R) or LT-debt represents more than 50% of the company’s total capitalization (Column Q). In Columns U and V, all 13 companies earn 2 points because their S&P ratings meet the requirement of being at least A- for the company’s debt and B+/M for the company’s stock. In Column Z, one point is earned if the stock appears likely to meet our Required Rate of Return over the next 10 years, which is 10%/yr, i.e., the dollar value is not highlighted in purple.

Bottom Line: As you approach retirement, look more closely at the stocks and ETFs in your portfolio. Those equities will need to be half your retirement savings. Where possible, choose stocks issued by large companies that offer higher dividend yields and faster dividend growth than the S&P 500 Index. Five of this week’s stocks are worth researching for possible purchase because of being rated 3 or 4 on our Basic Quality Screen (see Column AH): CSCO, JPM, USB, CAT and BLK.   

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

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

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

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