Number of Companies in an Individual’s Portfolio ?

This is one question that almost all long term investors ask themselves. Most of the well known value investors that we read about in public domain, usually, are concentrated in teens. If that’s the case, then what about diversification? The concept of risk is very subjective because every person will have a different risk profile. These well known value investors have proficiency to balance risk vs. returns. They have resources to be able to manage that risk of concentration. As individual investors, we do not have such resources at our disposal, and hence risk level changes for us. In addition, we cannot generalize that a fixed “number of stocks” provides diversification.

Being a dividend investors, I am looking for companies that have potential to grow their dividends over time. I have observed that companies that grow their dividends, with good quality of earnings, the market value (or share price) also grows. This not only provides dividend cash flow, but also the capital appreciation over time. continue reading rest of the article….

Essential to Preserve Capital in Dividend Investing

701183_moneyAs dividend investors, while it is important to focus on dividends, it is also equally important to monitor the risk of capital erosion over a period of time. Dividend growth and intermediate sustainability is good, but it is less likely to be a substitute for significant loss of capital. Pfizer and GE are examples of capital erosion. These two companies were not only able to sustain their dividends but kept with their growth in last decade. However, the value of individual’s holding kept eroding over the last decade or so. For example:

    • PFE was trading around $43 per share from 1999 to 2002. In last couple of years, it has been trading around $16. At the same time, it has paid cumulative dividends of only $8.22 per share.
    • GE was trading around $40 per share from 1999 to 2002. In last couple of years, it has been trading around $18. At the same time, it has paid cumulative dividends on only $9.00 per share.

    In recent days, four companies viz. BP, Johnson & Johnson, and Procter & Gamble, and Toyota Motors are (were) getting quite a bit of attention in news media. Rarely a day goes by when their woes, or management response to product issues, are not discussed in the financial media or general TV news channels. Three of these four corporations also happen to the good dividend paying companies. continue reading rest of the article….

    Dividends in the Context of Taxation Environment

    169849_taxOne the benefit that dividend investors have is lower tax percentage (i.e. 15%) on qualified dividends. In case of lower tax brackets, the qualified dividends are not even subject to taxes. In 2003, President Bush signed into law the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act. One of provision in this law was to reduced the tax rates on certain dividends (known as qualified dividends) to 15% for the highest income earners. Furthermore, this provision are to expire at the end of 2010 if Congress fails to renew or modify. So far, it has not been extended.

    Imagine that Berkshire had only $1, which we put in a security that doubled by year-end and was then sold.Image further that we used after-tax proceeds to repeat this process in each of the next 19 years, scoring double each time

    At the end of the 20 years, the 34% capital gains tax that we would have paid on the profits from each sale would have delivered about $13,000 to the government. We would have left with about $25,250. Not bad.

    If, however, we made a single fantastic investment that itself doubled 20 times during the 20- years, our dollar would grow to $1,048,576.

    Were we then to cash out, we would pay 34% tax of roughly $356,500 and be left with about $692,000.

    — Warren Buffett in Berkshire’s 1989 annual report.

    continue reading rest of the article….

    Dividend Investing and Businesses with Moat

    We all have read many times in investing literature about investing in companies that have wide moat. We all also know that this term was made famous by Warren Buffett. What is this wide moat? In simple terms, it is some type of competitive advantage in its business. Competitive advantage in business can come from many different types, viz., brand, high switching cost, patents/IP/rights, ease of scalability, low cost producers, etc.

    There are many companies that have many years building moats around their businesses. This moat makes it difficult for competitors to encroach upon their market share. Suffice to say, business with moat have sustainable competitive advantage. In general, companies with moats in their business are very good dividend growth providers. However, the opposite may not be true. Following are few examples of companies with moat that are also dividend growers. continue reading rest of the article….

    Where is the Growth Coming From?

    Majority of the S&P500 companies have declared their third quarter earnings. There is a general observation that earnings are rebounding (i.e. going into positives instead of negative). Most of the companies are showing signs of stability. I have included two charts below taken from Business Week magazine.

    Chart 1 shows the overall operating earnings of the S&P index companies. It shows the operating earnings were negative in last quarter of 2008. Since then, the operating earnings are slowing coming back and increasing quarter over quarter. continue reading rest of the article….

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