Dividend Increases & a Buy

Page 1

Each week I catch up on blogs, comment on a handful and generally learn a thing or two.  On occasion I take issue with a post (or a portion thereof) – and provide a (hopefully) meaningful comment.  The most recent being Lanny’s post which included, the lines:

I don’t know about you, but the dividend increases keep coming in hot, right off of the Tax Cuts, Jobs Act!  and Let’s just say tax reform has continued to be nice, as it relates to dividend increases.

The rationale for my comment being – assuming all of his US company increases were a result of the tax plan, this would be a 12.45% increase.  Not shabby by any means but a far cry from his reported total of 20.13%.  The difference being his foreign holdings which weren’t beneficiaries of a tax cut but of strength in ore prices and China shipments.  My quibble is not the numbers – only the presentation of the tax bill being a panacea for businesses.  It may well be, however the rules are still being written and the jury is still out.

Continue reading


Snake(like) Investors

Being in bed following a minor medical procedure yesterday brought me full frontal to the shenanigans playing out on the ‘news’ shows.  Edited clips framed to curry favor depending on the audience is the rule.  No longer can we – the consumer – decide whether a story is right or wrong without blatant editorializing.  As Sammy Davis, Jr. aptly stated in reference to The Huntley–Brinkley Report, “My only contact with reality. Whatever I’m doing, I stop to watch these guys.”  (Life magazine, 1964).  Or as Warren Buffett writes in his recent letter, “… media reports sometimes highlight figures that unnecessarily frighten or encourage many readers or viewers.”

My contact with reality was found in the (probably edited) recitation by our president of the lyrics to a song in his speech to CPAC members.

“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin
You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in
The Snake by Oscar Brown, Jr., 1963

Applause erupted, a pregnant pause ensued, before he mentioned the words “immigration”.  I really thought he was referring to himself for a minute.  But it does provide a decent lead into this weeks’ post.

Continue reading

My Views on Crypto

There have been many times where my opinion of cryptocurrency and blockchain have been sought.  My thoughts have always been – and continue to be – that blockchain holds promise while Bitcoin and most of the other cryptocurrency contenders have little merit.  Point of fact being I did add to my blockchain centric investments last month while refusing to play in the pure cryptocurrency sandbox.  With the current euphoria I decided this week to at least frame my position a little while noting I could be either wrong, premature or both.

Continue reading

Ringing In The New Year

As I wait for the last three dividends of 2017 to post to my account, my final accounting report will delayed into next week.  Sure I could just accrue said dividends and release the report but where would the fun in that be?  Especially since I can lay claim to being the first official victim of the new tax plan, aka the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  As it’s not even effective yet, I guess this is the first – of probably many – unintended consequences to emanate from this bill.  This week I’ll also cover my last minute 2017 moves and my first 2018 activity.  But first …

Continue reading

3 Year Milestone!

On December 12th I celebrated the three year anniversary of this blog’s creation.  Although still nothing fancy or glitzy (and probably never will be), I’ve settled into a weekly post routine that generally provides a monthly recap, occasional buy post, strategy brainstorm and/or general meanderings on topical subjects including taxes and or politics.  The common thread tying all this together has been investing in general with an emphasis on dividends.

Over the years, I’ve seen blogs come and go, most recently Income Surfer.  Some announce their closure and others just fade into the sunset.  Of the 447 DGI blogs I encountered since I started, 257 remain active – perhaps less once I audit.  That attrition rate (14.2% annually) is greater than I would have expected.  The reasons, when known, range from losses in the market (generally high yield issues), lack of patience while the process takes hold (desire for instant gratification), realization of the time involved blogging and the inability to successfully monetize  their efforts.

The other end of the spectrum includes the likes of Dividend Daze who embrace the opportunity for success without any illusions of grandeur.  Happy Blogiversary by the way!

I would guess I reside somewhere in between.  My start was literally therapy.  Prescribed during rehab to assist in my recovery from a series of strokes.  I visit – and read – a significant number of blogs weekly.  I usually comment only when I feel my viewpoint is not redundant to other comments – and I have something worthwhile to add.  This due to the effort required to type – what I could do before in 5 minutes now requires 20.  You will not find stock analyses in my blog as I did lose most mathematical reasoning.  The weirdness is, I can still do Algebra (ROI calculations for one).  You will find strategy assessments albeit with a slightly jaundiced view.

A friend of mine calls a couple of times per month to run business ideas off of me (Devils Advocate scenarios).  He claims that I can take a shine off an apple even better than I could before the strokes.  Apparently there are some benefits – or perhaps I choose to see the positives in life (maybe both?).

Anyway my focus remains providing a map for my wife to follow when the time arises with a reduction in breadth and an emphasis on the central investing thesis.  To those who have shared – and perhaps enjoyed – this journey I thank you for your support.  To those I offended (unintentionally) I apologize and will attempt to be less offensive going forward.

As the season is upon us I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday and an even better 2018!

Tracking Spreadsheets

As many of you know, Two Investing has published – and periodically updates – a Google spreadsheet for portfolio tracking.  I started using the original one published by Investment Moats several years ago and later migrated to the Two Investing version.  A new version was recently released due to Google/Yahoo API issues – basically not all data was readily available.  So I spent the last three weeks manually converting my data.  I chose a manual process so I could cleanse data that was no longer relevant primarily due to mergers.

As advertised, I found the new version to be more robust and faster.  But there are a few issues to be aware of.  I did comment on most of these on their site November 30th but figured I’d include my additional findings to provide a heads up to people reading my ramblings.

1. Perhaps you caught it by now but the version I downloaded was missing Telecom as a sector.

This is readily corrected by adding it via the Lists tab.  You also have to update the Summary tab to include it as well.  Update: S&P announced on November 15th the Telecommunications sector will be replaced by a newly formed Communications Services sector on September 28, 2018 with preliminary components announced in January and finalized by August 1st.

2. An error is received (Reference Data) when the company name has an apostrophe (Casey’s/CASY). (I did a manual override).

The override I referred to is ‘IF($D146=””,””,”Caseys General Stores Inc”) which is the name (less apostrophe). Google’s name function includes apostrophes.

3. It appears some ADR issues have data and some don’t. I haven’t figured out the why (maybe the sponsor?) ex. AKO.B does, CMSQY doesn’t.

4. OTC pink sheet data (US pricing/dividends on Canadian issues) not available. ex. HRNNF (corresponds to H.TO)

5. OTCQB market data is lacking. I didn’t check the greys as I own none.

I still haven’t figured it out. Cross (dual) listings work and some ADRs as well.  My work around (for my 7 outliers) is to enter ‘=GOOGLEFINANCE(A100,“price”) in column J on the Reference Data tab (where A100 corresponds to the ticker symbol field of yours) and manually enter the annual dividend in column K.  This sets the override function so the DivPayoutCalc tab and Portfolio tab both update properly.

6) ReferenceData generates ‘error getting data’ (ExDate, PayDate) when the company does not pay a dividend.

Not a functional problem only cleanliness of presentation.

7) (New): Optional use column P – DivCalendar – doesn’t lock to the year as do the other columns.

8) (New – 17 Dec 2017): Column H – ReferenceData – IEX data for ex-div does not reflect current announcements.  Ex: KMB shows the prior 7 Sep 2017 ex rather than the current 7 Dec 2017.

Bottom line I’m pleased with the improvements and improved performance.  It’s been awhile since I’ve had all the fields working and look forward to approaching year end with a minimum of manual adjustments!

Hammurabi and DGI

This week I ran across a post on Farnam Street titled, The Code of Hammurabi: The Best Rule To Manage Risk.  While an interesting piece, there were a couple of areas that I had an issue with, notably bonus payments.  If one navigates successfully through rough waters a reward may be warranted.  Conversely, failure should not be rewarded and be, perhaps, punished.  In my mind, the degree (lavishness) of the reward has the ability to inflict more damage than the remuneration itself.  Risk taken should not be without reward so long as potential downsides are properly mitigated (margin of safety).  Excessive CEO pay is an entirely different matter.

The tangent my mind followed was if there was a correlation between Hammurabi’s Code and Dividend Growth Investing.  Following I’ll perform a deeper dive into the tenets noted by the author:

Three important concepts are implicit in Hammurabi’s Code: reciprocity, accountability, and incentives.


the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit

As DGI bloggers we freely share our buys, sells, portfolios, reasoning and rationale.  We solicit comments and questions.  All of which is performed with no expectations other than others knowledge and experience will in turn be of benefit to us.


willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

There have been times that our choices or decisions resulted in a loss or failure to achieve the desired outcome.  Sharing within the community of a loss incurred or a dividend cut is a form of accountability.  Sharing our thoughts and concerns – particularly in a time of failure – is not only cathartic but an exercise in self-improvement.


a thing that motivates or encourages one to do something

The encouragement provided to each other is by far the largest incentive.  Considering DGI is a journey that is a lifetime in the making, having our spirits lifted or a nudge along the path is a job undertaken by everyone in the community.

To summarize, you could say we are adherents to the Code of  Hammurabi.  Perhaps not to the degree or brutality as the original, but to the parts that depict a sense of community and a helping hand to our neighbors.