he fourth quarter swoon continued in earnest this month resulting in an annual loss for the markets. While the final trading day closed higher (DJIA up 265, NASDAQ up 51 and the S&P up 21) it was nowhere near close enough to avoid the worst December since 1931. Though surprised by the resiliency of the US dollar, last year’s intent to migrate further into foreign equities was largely preempted by tariff uncertainty. My other 2018 concern of rising federal deficits stifling the economy did not manifest itself as yet – though I remain skeptical of administration claims that growth can outpace the deficit. For the month, the S&P index dropped by 9.18% while my portfolio dropped by ‘only’ 8.44%. For the year the S&P posted an unusual loss of 6.65% while my overall loss was 3.57%. In an otherwise ugly ending to the year, my primary goal of exceeding the S&P’s return was attained marking the 33rd year (of 38) that I’ve been able to make this claim.
At month end, the first of the tariffs took effect with the markets basically going sideways while trying to figure the impact. My impression is the first industry to be impacted (via retaliation) will be the lobster industry. Other industries will be later as the supply chains run off. Even the US dollar is taking the noise in stride resuming its’ ascent. Finally, the CCAR results were released with approval of the majority of the capital return plans of the banking sector (additional dividend growth on the horizon). Through this I generally stayed the course, the only exception being the implementation of a hedge on two mergers. June saw a rise in the S&P of 0.48% while my portfolio underperformed by registering a rise of 0.14%. YTD I still lag the S&P by 0.69%.
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 …
This month was pretty solid with the market continuing its upward grind. Earnings season was in focus with good reports outweighing the bad. Most of the attribution to the hurricanes was legitimate but a few did raise my eyebrows. The US dollar turned in a second rising month. The S&P index increased by 2.22% while my portfolio lagged (again) by only increasing 2.03%. The two culprits were international currency weakness and a drop in value in my October (speculative) purchase. For the year I’m still ahead of the index by 2.7%.
Headlines impacting my portfolio (bold are owned):
- 10/3 – IRM acquires Bonded Services Holdings from Wicks Group, LLC
- 10/4 – IBM acquires Vivant Digital (pvt)
- 10/5 – YUMC initiates quarterly dividend scheme
- 10/5 – IRM buys CS datacenters in London and Singapore
- 10/6 – K acquires Chicago Bar Company LLC (RXBAR)
- 10/11 – BHB sells insurance business
- 10/11 – FHN acquires Professional Mortgage Co.
- 10/16 – SJI buys NJ/MD assets from SO
- 10/17 – SYY acquires HFM Foodservice
- 10/18 – India approval for POT/AGU merger received. awaiting US and China.
- 10/18 – DGX to acquire Cleveland Heart Lab
- 10/19 – JNJ acquires Surgical Process Institute
- 10/25 – AAPL acquires PowerbyProxi
- 10/30 – DGX aquires some California Laboratory Associates assets
- 10/30 – TU to acquire Xavient Information Systems
- initiated position in NXNN
- October delivered an increase of 24.59% Y/Y with the about half of the increase being attributable dividend increases and the other half purchases.
- October delivered an increase of 8.53% over last quarter (July).
- Declared dividend increases averaged 10.91% with 70.62% of the portfolio delivering at least one increase (including 2 cuts and 1 suspension).
- YTD dividends received were 103.83% of total 2016 dividends which exceeded last years’ total on October 25th.
Spirit Realty Capital (SRC) has been announced.
AGU/POT (Nutrien) remains pending.
With the primary goal of exceeding last year’s dividends completed, my focus turns to developing a strategy for 2018. Meanwhile adding NXNN (speculative) in October and DRE for November’s primary purchase. DRE as they go ex-div next week and a special dividend is likely in December as a result of the sale of their Medical buildings to HTA this past May.
I know, I just went way out in left field with this month’s purchase. It pays no dividend, is running at a loss and will probably end up being a home run or belly up. But I decided to gamble a little since my 2017 dividends will surpass last years’ next week.