Dec 2016 Update

December was a continuation of the Trump effect with significant  reassessment underway in many portfolios.  The DOW continued its march to 20,000 before failing and pulling back at month end.  While consumer optimism is at multiyear highs, this has not resulted in holiday sales records probably due to the inability of a President-Elect’s posturing to translate  into tangible policy change.  This month The S&P gained 1.82%.  My portfolio recorded a gain of 3.92% largely reflecting my overweight position in the Financial sector which has been a beneficiary of election sentiment.  This increases my lead over the S&P for the year to 19.83% achieving one of my 2016 goals of besting the S&P index.

Headlines impacting my portfolio:

  • 12/7 – CIBC/PVTB merger vote postponed
  • 12/13 – WFC fails ‘Living Will’, BAC passes
  • 12/14 – Fed raises .25%
  • 12/20 – BAC sells UK MBNA assets to Lloyd’s
  • 12/20 – AMC receives last approval for CKEC merger
  • 12/21 – KO buys BUD African, El Salvador and Honduras bottlers
  • 12/21 – MET financing for spin secured (BHF)

Blog Updates:

Basically chose to be a slug through the holidays

Portfolio Updates:

  • Added to HAS
  • Added to HWBK
  • New position – CNDT (XRX spin)
  • Added to CVLY (stock dividend)
  • Added to LARK (stock dividend)
  • Added to CBSH (stock dividend)

Dividends:

  • December delivered an increase of 24.0% over December 2015.  This was due about evenly between dividend increases (Y/Y) and October purchases from merger proceeds.
  • December had a 5.4% increase over the prior quarter.
  • Dividend increases averaged 12.3% with 74.5% of my portfolio delivering at least one raise.
  • Dividends received exceeded total 2015 dividends by 29.3%.

Spinoffs:

The MET spin (Brighthouse Financial – BHF) secured financing.

Mergers:

LSBG/BHB expected to close in January 2017.

Rolling Unabridged Update #3

The fourth month of the Rolling Unabridged Monthly Portfolio (RUMP) is in the books with the results posted a few days ago.  A few were added and more removed.  The only item of note was that KO has tied JNJ in the overall rankings.  The update cycle remains at an eight month lag which is within the desired 6-9 month window.  Following are the highlights, findings, questions and issues identified.

Blog Composition

Bloggers with online portfolios that are not dormant numbered 266 this round.  Roughly 4 were added and 22 dropped due to dormancy, one by making their portfolio private and one by becoming subscription only.

Data

As alluded to earlier, there were no significant changes in the rankings, however both KMI and PM were replaced by OHI and WFC respectively, both of which were recipients of blog chatter leading into the US election.

Strategy

One thing that has caught my attention with these analyses is the multiple strategies employed whether singularly or in combination.  One that I hadn’t seen since 2000 was concentrated IPO investing.  As both dividends and profits rare in this space, his decision to eject his DGI safety net and go ‘all-in’ is one gutsy call.One can only hope his success – or timing -is better than my dabbling at the height of the dot-com bubble.

A Deeper Dive

I have come to the conclusion that this type of analysis – although interesting – is meaningless.  Adam’s data (I Want to Retire Soon) is distorted by frequency while mine is distorted by weighting (or lack thereof).   Meaning in my data, one share of JNJ is equal to 100 shares as the holding – rather than quantity – is paramount.  Therefore I miss weighting changes as the company is either owned or not.  Since a clearer picture cannot emerge, I’ll continue to periodically update the data but only post on major events such as dividend cuts.

Isn’t the Election Over Yet?

Following the most divisive and cantankerous election I’ve ever seen, I – along with many others – were likely longing for a return to normalcy.  A day where markets are driven by earnings, GDP, or other useful metrics rather than tweets and soundbites.  A time when logic dictates norms rather than bluster and berating.  The ability to take a deep collective breath followed by attempting to figure out how our respective investing strategies need to be tweaked to profit from the new regime.  I’m not referring to the recounts as I suspect they will result in no significant change with Clinton winning a majority of votes cast but Trump winning the Electoral College – and therefore the election.  What I’m referencing is the ability to cipher a meaningful direction that the President-Elect (PE) is going to take the economy.

Three diverse events occurred this week that gave me pause.  On the surface these are likely one-off issues but looked at in total generate more questions than they answer.

Continue reading

Nov 2016 Update

November was a wild month with a downward trend leading into the US elections and what is being referred to as the ‘Trump Rally’ following the widely unexpected result.  All major indexes achieved record highs on November 21st.  Fortunately I was able to redeploy the majority of the merger funds prior to the election.  This month The S&P gained 3.42%.  My portfolio recorded a gain of 11.49% (no normalization) largely reflecting my overweight position in the Financial sector.  This increases my lead over the S&P for the year to 17.74% with one month to go.

Headlines impacting my portfolio:

  • 11/2 – EPR acquires CLLY properties in liquidation
  • 11/8 – XRX spin (CNDT) set for 12/31/16, ratio 1:5
  • 11/14 – Maine is final approval for the BHB/LSBG merger.  Closing expected Jan 2017.
  • 11/15 – BMO designated as Canadian clearing firm for renminbi trades
  • 11/16 – AMC gets EU approval to for Odeon & UCI merger

Blog Updates:

I chose not to do an October portfolio update due to all the activity which distorted the results a little, especially the XIRR column.  The November data has been compiled and should be posted in the next couple of days with the goals update later in the week.  The Unabridged portfolio should be next week as per normal.

Portfolio Updates:

  • Added to DIS
  • Added to UL
  • Added to PEP
  • Added to TD
  • Added to KMB
  • Added to NJR
  • New position – IRM
  • Added to TRP
  • Added to KOF
  • Added to CCE
  • Added to FLIC (they chose to round up fractionals on a split)

Dividends:

  • November delivered an increase of 29.1% over November 2015.  This was due about evenly between dividend increases (Y/Y) and late 2015 funding.
  • November had a 2.1% increase over the prior quarter.
  • Announced dividend increases currently average 12.5% with 71.81% of my portfolio having at least one raise so far this year.
  • Through November, dividends received exceeded total 2015 dividends by 13.8%.

Spinoffs:

The XRX spin (Conduent – CNDT) is on track to complete 12/31/2016.

Mergers:

LSBG/BHB expected to close in January 2017.

Of This and That

Periodically I piece together thoughts based on my internet browsing or events garnering recent headlines.  Some may have an impact on my portfolio or strategy, others are only  food for thought.   For your entertainment, I present my latest installment.

Cuba Revisited

Previously I wrote on Cuba themed investing .  Yesterday’s headline delivered the news of Fidel Castro’s death.  Regardless of individual feelings on the Cuba issue, the fact remains the current trajectory is for further easing of sanctions.  It will, however, be an interesting first test for the new president pitting his stance on increasing exports versus his campaign rhetoric on rolling back Obama’s executive actions and the promises made to the Cuban Americans in Florida.  At the very least, the Canadians are likely chuckling at Trump’s conundrum as they never had an embargo to begin with.  A couple of articles are linked below.

(Long: SGBK, KOF)

28 November 2016, Mastercards (MA) issued by Banco Popular (BPOP) and NatBank (NA.TO, NTIOF) are currently valid by Executive Order (Obama) as well.

School Transportation

Also in the headlines this past week was the school bus tragedy in Chattanooga, TN.  Knowing there are four bloggers invested in school bus transportation services, I figured it was time to perform a little research.  There appear to be three major players in the space, two from the UK and one from Canada.  The largest is apparently First Student (FGP.L), followed by National Express Group (NEX.L), with Student Transportation (STB) in third.  First Group’s dividend has been suspended for a couple of years and National Express has been flirting with being acquired but with suitors leaving her at the altar.  National Express has Durham School Services as a subsidiary which was involved in the accident.  Our four blogger friends are all invested in STB.

The New Healthcare?

One of the bigger questions surrounding the new administration is the direction to be taken with healthcare.  In all likelihood changes are coming but to what end?  Outside my fondness for HSA/FSA managers, a plausible argument has emerged pertaining to Medicare insurers.

(Long: UNH, HUM)

Philanthropy

One blogger displays the fact that he is a philanthropist.  Now this got me thinking.  I’m old school and think of the likes of a Carnegie (public libraries) when considering the term.  My opinion is that this title is earned by – or bestowed upon – individuals based on works and deeds over a significant period of time.  Considering my net worth is greater than his (but his growth trajectory is increasing) and his portfolio has performed similarly to mine, left me scratching my head.  I do consider myself charitable but think philanthropy takes charity to another level.  Thinking that perhaps I’m operating in the past, I looked at the Urban Dictionary‘s definition which says, “one who gives money to charity, often associated with the wealthy and given a negative connotation by people who have never donated more than a dime at McDonald’s.”  Hmm … perhaps we are all (or most of us) philanthropists.

Until next time.

Prepping for ’17

In my inbox I found a message inspired (?) by my last post.  In a nutshell, it was a request for further insight into my October purchases.  I have to admit that, on the surface, the appearance is that I was throwing stuff against the wall to see what would stick.  I would like to think I’m slightly more calculating.  To set the scenario, I had an oversized cash position due to a merger, the markets had started their pre-election downward drift and the FBI just breathed new life into Candidate Trump’s aspirations.

Continue reading

A Sea of Change

There are events that present opportunities through chaos and the US election – as Brexit was – appears to be one.   During these times as the sands are shifting I find it prudent to attempt to handicap the situation identifying strengths and weaknesses primarily using my portfolio as a lens.  Many questions currently have no answers and some stock gains appear to be based on assumptions more than facts.  I do reserve the right to modify my thoughts as more data is obtained.

REITs have generally taken a beating primarily on interest rate fears.  but the same could be said for Telecoms and Utilities.  Telecoms appear to have been spared due to M&A activity.

Financials appear to be a tale of diverging paths.  Pundits are bullish on the big banks but not so much on the little guys.  My guess is M&A will slow among the small banks as Dodd-Frank is tweaked but will accelerate as the reality of profitability through synergy is identified.  Multinational banks will continue to have to deal with Basel III to remain competitive globally tempering some of potential gains.

Healthcare is a wildcard.  To repeal a dysfunctional new scheme to implement an old dysfunctional scheme without morphing it into a newly dysfunctional scheme is ludicrous and where this sector’s profits will be found (until Congress gets wise).

Discretionary will depend on the economy – is the new plan recessionary?

And Mexico?  Strangely silent have been F, UTX, KO, DE and a host of others with operations there.  Then there is the NAFTA treaty which requires Senate action to modify.  It’s difficult to see many California or Texas senators supporting an action that would raise unemployment and reduce tax receipts by shuttering logistics centers.

Basically I see no immediate strategic portfolio change but additional diligence will be required.  A possible watch list might include UMBF, WBS and ONB for exposure to Health Spending Accounts (HSAs); KSU (Mexican trade); and KOF.  Other then the peso valuation and the ADR trade, I know of no other US exposure for KOF (Coca-Cola Femsa).

And how are you surviving?