Case of Dividend Growth in Emerging Economies

growthThe list of dividend aristocrats, dividend achievers, or dividend champion is favorite hunting ground most of the dividend focused investors. This list includes companies from S&P500 index or S&P1500 index that have been continuously raising dividends last 25 years or 10 years or more. In general, these are companies that are listed on US markets. The list of companies (and dividend opportunities) will keep churning. It is really difficult to predict which ones will continue to survive for another 10 years or more. As they age, it will be harder for them to sustain their dividend growth momentum. The likelihood of their ability to grow dividend will continue to diminish.
We need to understand dividend growth in the context of growth in US economy. Dividend growth is only possible on the back of growth in corporate earnings. Keeping with the growth of US economy, many of these companies also continued to grow and hence dividends kept increasing. However, investors cannot ignore the current US economy vis-à-vis emerging market economies.

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Indian Economy – A Better Destination in Emerging Markets

globeFew weeks ago, I posted an article earlier which discussed why emerging markets (e.g. BRIC) cannot be clubbed together. There are so many significant differences that it makes sense to look at it individually. Most likely it will also provide maximum possible return for our invested dollars. While China continues to receive most attention in the press, I believe its India that provides a much better option for small individual investors. Following are three reasons I believe India has relatively more fundamental strength than other countries.

  • Inward Consumption Based Growth: India’s economy is consumption oriented when compared to other emerging markets. India’s export contributes less than 15% to its $1.2T GDP. The IT outsourcing services and back office has garnered most of the business media coverage; however, these industries have less than 8% contribution to the GDP and employ less than 5 million people. This is an indicator of growth by internal production and consumption. It is less reliant on exports. Quite contrarily, these technology services perform better in recession, because it is all about optimizing operational cost. In addition, its reserve bank (a.ka. central bank) has very conservative monetary policy, which is why we did not see failure of the banks (or banking system) during the current financial melt down. There were no widespread bank bailouts.

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Investing in ETF – Know What You are Investing In

globeAs individual investors, we are always careful of what we invest in and what investing vehicle we use. We try to filter the business media noise or recommendations from analyst or fund house marketing data. In last few years, we have been told that the simple and easiest way to invest in new growing emerging markets is use emerging market ETFs and/or funds. There are so many different funds with so many different themes that we should understand whether we are really getting what we are looking for. Following are few examples as observations on structures of ETFs.

Example 1: VWO and EEM are funds based on MSCI emerging market select index which is market capitalization based index. It includes 18 to 20 emerging economies where stocks can be bought free of any restrictions.

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Risk Analysis of Portfolio – 2009 3Q

growthLast week, I presented an update on the monthly progress of my dividend portfolio. In this post, I am discussing the quarterly risk analysis. My objective here to make sure I am continuing to following my risk management process.

  1. Maintain pre-determined asset class allocation;
  2. Maintain pre-determined diversification (any sector should not exceed 10%); and
  3. Dividends from a single stock should not exceed 5% of total dividends.

My dividend portfolio holdings can be referenced in My Portfolio menu at top of this page.

Maintaining Asset Allocation

Chart 1 shows the asset class allocation along with my maximum target limits. In general, I am continuing to meet (or much closer) to my pre-defined target levels. During 3Q09, I did not make any contribution to the emerging markets index funds such as VWO and EPI. This was because I believe they rose too quickly to my comfort level. I am still tad lower than my maximum limit for emerging markets.

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Five Assets for Hedging Against Dollar Inflation or Deflation

photo.cmsAs the stock markets continue to recover (assuming it has not done yet), the talk of inflation is coming back in the news. Our government has pumped in so much of printed money in the system that there is a concern that US economy will experience inflationary times. There is no denying that inflation will take away chunk of our real returns from overall investing returns.

Many of the well known economists and investors (including Warren Buffett) have expressed concerns about inflation. Among all the experts and pundits, I believe, David Swensen gave a very pragmatic and down to earth response to this question in an interview on WealthTrack. According to Swensen, he does not know what will happen. He cannot predict it. There will be inflation if the recent pumping of money supports the economy and growth returns to US economy. If there is no growth, then there will be deflation of dollar value. His message was to address these issues with proper diversification and asset allocation. As individual investors what can we do to (or rather how can we) blunt the effect of inflation or deflation. Following are five aspects one can look into to manage their asset diversification.

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