Monday, March 23, 2020

Extraordinary call on MSFT I had to sell

These are strange times.  I had more than 20 calls on 20 stocks expire on Friday.  Today I searched each and every name where I am above my cost basis.  I was looking for extra call income.

During the past few weeks I added little bits of MSFT for a basis of $140.  On those shares I am barely even as MSFT is trading in the mid $134.   However, I found an extraordinary call that I sold today.

Price on Open Call Expiration 
MSFT $133.83 6/19/2020
Cost Basis:   March $140.00
Strike Price: $155.00
Call Premium:  $7.07
Dividend  5/20/2020 $0.510
Call Yield on Basis 5.05%
Call + Dividend Yield on Basis 5.41%
$ Gain if Assigned $22.58
Max Return  if Assigned 16.13%



If my shares are called away, I benefit to the tune of over 16%.  If MSFT stock price soars and I lose it before the dividend date, that is o.k. by me.  If it rumbles along at the current price level, I will probably not lose it and will capture the dividend.  I am fine being long MSFT but I am also fine having this lot called away when I get the unbelievable premium of $7.07 per share.

The premium on this call is equal to over 13 quarterly dividend payments.  As an income investor I have to do this.

Analyst moves MSFT

M* MoneyMadam
Disclosure;  Long MSFT with calls on part of the position.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How low can it go - nibble

Remember Mark Haines or Haynes, a former anchor on CNBC called the bottom in March 2009.   Sadly, Mark left us not long after that.  Wish we had his instincts.

I am thinking we could touch 15,000 on the DOW.   I know that sounds terrible but if you look at P/E's and realize earnings will go down during the recirculation of the effect of shut downs and therefore prices will follow.  Without a doubt the market looks forward.  When it does turn up it will be telling us the market expects earnings to improve.

Constipation is the worse thing for the economy.  Velocity of money is so necessary.  Turnover is so important.  Each of us can make money when a trade occurs.

This is terrible news for retirees especially those of us without a pension.  And it is wonderful news for wealth builders with cash to invest.  That would be young people.

For me, I just keep selling calls and nibbling.  I have enough positions that I bought when the DOW was under 15,000 that I can afford to take a chance that the market will shoot up in the next 40 days and my calls will be taken.   I am keeping expirations short so calls either expire and I can sell another call on the position to supplement my income and or raise cash for the next buying opportunity.

I believe the next nine months will be very volatile providing opportunities to put those proceeds to work.

If you have the money, buy whole lots, but don't be embarrassed to buy less than 100 shares.  You can add 10 or 25 shares at a time.  It's like dividend reinvesting but on your schedule.  Put your buys in really low and see what happens.

You have to be brave and stick with your disciplined approach.  When you nibble make sure you are nibbling on stocks that meet Dividend Machine fundamentals:

  • Solid Balance Sheet
  • Dividend Yield for me above 3% - Jim Cramer at CNBC says he wants 4%
  • P/E ratios below the historical level for that stock - please use trailing P/E's not forward.  Who knows what forward earnings will be
  • No dividend reductions during the previous crisis

M* MoneyMadam

Las Vegas Sands and P/E

https://simplywall.st/news/apple-post/what-is-las-vegas-sandss-nyselvs-p-e-ratio-after-its-share-price-tanked/

M* MoneyMadam
Disclosure:  Long LVS with calls

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Shouldn't P/E ratios be really low if this is a buying opportunity for ordinary investors?

  • Stocks were over valued as measured by P/E ratios
  • Markets were heading higher on P/E ratio expansion
  • Looking for low P/E stocks in the Dow 30 reveals eight stocks to consider
  • Dividend Fundamentals remain of utmost importance

If you follow my blog, you know I have been writing about Dividend stock investing since just after I retired as an investment adviser in 2009.    To say I have been through this before more than once is accurate; to suggest I am immune to the pain is wrong.  However, I know that even with my shortened life expectancy, I am 11 years older than I was in 2009, quality stocks will continue to deliver the income I need to live my lifestyle.

FEAR NOT; BE PREPARED

I always advised my clients to have a debt free house to live in as one goal and to have money in stocks and bonds that are highly likely to continue to pay the income needed to support their lifestyle and in stocks that will increase that income over time.

I also advised my clients to have their rainy day fund always in safe, liquid assets even if it is painful to receive virtually no income from that stash.  For clients who have more cash than they need and for clients who expected to receive cash in the form of a bonus, or tax refund, or gift from Uncle Henry, you have to be willing to add stocks in downturn.

WHICH STOCKS?

Today I am looking at the Dow 30 stocks to find something of value.  Here are my criteria:

  • Good balance sheet, I use D/E ratio and interest coverage ratio
  • Dividend yield of more than 3% 
  • Dividend history during previous market disruption in 2009
  • Price correction that mirrors the overall market
  • P/E ratio under 15

Looking at each of these criteria I begin with balance sheet.  Companies have been adding debt because debt is cheap.  The old saying goes that you should borrow when you can not when you need to.   What are they doing with added debt.  Apple for example has a ton of cash around so they borrowed at cheap rates and used that additional liquidity to pay investors dividends.    Home Depot borrowed the money to buy back stock and increase the value of the shares held by investors.

Debt matters if the company cannot pay the interest on the loan and cannot pay out our precious dividends.  Therefore, looking at a combination of D/E ratio and interest coverage is a good guide for the ordinary investor.

It used to be that dividend yield needed to beat the 10 year U.S. Treasury but in today's world those metrics are unreliable as Treasury yields are so low, no one can live on them.  A more reliable yield for me is 3%.  If I get 3% on my portfolio, I will not suffer but I also will not be accumulating cash from the difference between my income and my expenses.  Yield is very personal and each investor needs to do their own math to determine the minimum yield they need.

Dividend growth is more significant for the long term investor who does not work for a living.  In 20 years everything will cost about double what it does now.  If you don't believe me, go back twenty years and look at the cost of ground beef, or your car insurance or your home owner's fees.  Even if a stock did not increase the dividend during the 2007-2009 debacle but resumed dividend increases after the crises abated, you are probably okay with that investment

Why buy a stock that has not corrected as much as the market?  Hard to find one of these but I do have an example.   This is a two handed assumption.  On the one hand, if you are buying during a market crisis, you certainly want a bargain.   On the other hand, if you find a stock that has held up well, maybe you have a winner that can weather any storm.  Again, investing is an individual process and only you can decide if a stock meets your personal criteria.

That lead's us to P/E ratio which the ratio of the price of a stock divided by the earnings.  Zacks reports the average long term P/E ratio of the Dow Industrials is about 16.  Ycharts shows a P/E of 22.29 on 12/27/2019.   Other sources show a range of as low as 7 and as high as 30.  In 2009 the Dow's P/E was about 15.  Hence, I picked 15 as a cut off.  

Note that while the DJI (Dow Industrial Average) is just that, you can find average P/E's for each stock you are considering.

I was quite surprised to find stocks that I have liked in the past but found to too expensive to buy or to hold to still have higher P/E's than I like and some with dividend yields below the 3% goal.  Johnson and Johnson carries a P/E/ of 24.23 and a yield of only 2.88%.  Apple carries a P/E of 21.13 and a yield of 1.21%.   Great businesses but I have to stick with my disciplined approach.

Here are the stocks  in the Dow industrial average that today meet the P/E criteria and the dividend yield criteria.  Some have higher D/E ratios than I like but all have positive interest coverage ratios.  Anything interest coverage ratio that is under 1 is too risky.  

Symbol Price P/E D/E Int.Cov. Yld Other Factors
JPM $88.92 8.72 1.42 2.7    3.00%       Neg Int Rates
CAT $90.97 9.69 2.58 19.63.23%     World Recession
IBM $104.48 11.15 3.27 8.6 4.83%      No Rev Growth       but new CEO
TRV $106.33 11.71 0.25 10.12.62%    Less than Dow        correction
PFE $30.78 11.78 0.83 12.2 4.18%     No Rev Growth
VZ $51.93 12.01 2.17 5.8 4.23%     Leader in 5G
XOM $38.74 12.46 0.24 25.2 6.78%      Oil Glut
CSCO $34.31 14.81 0.45 20.4 3.60%
*Price, Int.Cov. Yld from Market XLS P/E from Schwab 

Note the one stock that has not corrected as much as the market is TRV.

You should always look for more data on the stocks you are considering.  I noted in the table above some of the externalities that might color my decision to buy.

BE BRAVE, BE DISCIPLINED

M* MoneyMadam
Disclosure:  Long JPM, IBM, CAT, VZ, XOM, CSCO.   I have covered calls working on a portion of my holdings in each name.









Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Retirees should add to stocks on dips - a conservative guideline

Retired people who live off the income from their portfolios are in turmoil.  We have no safe source of income.  The stock market has made even the worst invest adviser look good and we have felt rich as we watch P/E ratios increase and interest rates go down.

Now we are faced with market turmoil that questions the wisdom of staying in the market and yet our income opportunities outside the market are poor, U.S. Treasuries yield nothing.

Yet, if you are a retired person who lives off the income from your portfolio, you have been through stock market meltdowns before; actually several times.  The difference now is your expenses are two times what they were in the dot com collapse in 2001 and your get basically no income from debt instruments where early in the decade you could get decent yield.  What is a disciplined, knowledgeable investor to do?  Here is my approach.

I am adding to certain stocks. very carefully.  I believe it is called nibbling.  Here is how I am approaching my income portfolio.

Conditions:  I am not looking to add a new position.  I am combing through my portfolio for stocks I want more of based on their dividend yield, their dividend growth and their balance sheet.
  • You have a low cost basis in a dividend stock
  • You still like the stock and have been adding or wanting to add over time even at higher prices than you paid.
  • You have money available to invest:  you receive more dividends, interest, and call premiums and other sources of income than you spend.
During situations like a long bull market, we investors can get a little lazy about working our portfolio.  We tend to look at our holdings more closely when we are not sure they are safe. 

I suggest looking for stocks in your portfolio that are winners.  One of the nice aspects of holding 35 or so stocks in your income portfolio is that you can have a concentrated position in each holding.  That allows you to work some of your holdings by adding to them during a market correction even through you are buying at prices higher than your cost basis.  

The concept of dollar cost averaging down has never worked for me.  I like to add to my winners eventhough I may have a loss on a more recent buy.  Maybe we would call it a hybrid dollar cost average strategy.  

I say adding to a current position is always a prudent decision.  What to look for.
  • Balance sheet
  • Dividend performance during 2008-2009 meltdown
  • Current P/E 
  • Dividend yield greater than average yield on your portfolio
  • Ability to survive a 50% decrease in earnings and still cover the dividend

EXAMPLES OF STOCKS TO ADD TO INCREASE PORTFOLIO YIELD

Using the stocks selected in the 2011 portfolio.  The entire point of adding is to boost income.   The 2011 portfolio yields only 2.9% on the current value.  Income has increased by 70% during these last 9 years and value effective on the close 3/3/202 has increased by 120%.  These are acceptable metrics.

However a yield of 2.9% is not as robust as we would like.  If we have money to invest which are the best stocks to add for dividend income.

The 2011 portfolio holds more stocks than I really like, there are 52 symbols.  I analyzed the entire group eliminating those on which I have a loss and eliminating those with higher D/E ratios than I can stomach in 2020 in spite of cheap interest rates.

Out of that scan, I found 6 stocks worth the effort.  At the current price each stock has a yield greater than the portfolio average; each stock has an acceptable D/E ratio.  Moreover, 5 of the 6 stocks increased the dividend between 2007 and 2009.  PSX does not have dividend history during that time frame.

3/4/2020 Stocks to add for Dividend Yield - Using M* 2011 portfolio holdings
Industry Symbol Price Correction since 2/21 Div Yield D/E Ratio P/E
Oil & Gas Integrated CVX $98.53 11.09% 4.04% 0.21 16.9
Banks - Regional - US CFR $79.24 15.49% 2.94% 0.06 13.7
Specialty Retail GPC $89.25 9.24% 2.90% 1.16 19.3
Leisure HAS $77.85 15.14% 2.62% 0.93 50.4
Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing PSX $74.63 17.29% 3.19% 0.48 11.4
Packaging & Containers SON $52.28 9.36% 2.80% 1.01 19.2

I would eliminate HAS based on the P/E. And, I would prefer a bigger correction in GPC with barely a 9% correction and a P/E of 19.3.  Similarly I would prefer more of a correction in SON.

Since we are so conservative, we worry about everything.  If we add to a position we want to know what would happen to our income during an economic disruption similar to 2007-2009. See the dividend performance of all of the picks during that time frame.

Symbol Qtr Div 2nd qtr 2007 Qtr Div 2nd qtr 2009 Div Growth
CVX $1.38 $1.79 29.71%
CFR $0.79 $1.06 34.18%
GPC $0.97 $1.16 19.59%
HAS $0.37 $0.60 62.16%
PSX no history started divs in 2013
SON $0.65 $0.77 18.46%

I find this result encouraging.  Each one of these companies was able to not only weather the storm of the financial crisis that caused stock prices to crater, but these stocks also continued to pay their stockholders an ever increasing dividend.

Can these stocks do it again? What happens if there is real fundamental deterioration of these stocks.  If earnings were cut in half would earnings cover the dividend?

Symbol Current Earnings EPS cut in half Dividend Coverage Ratio
CVX $1.55 $0.78 $4.76 -3.985
CFR $6.88 $3.44 $2.84 0.6
GPC $4.26 $2.13 $3.05 -0.92
HAS $4.02 $2.01 $2.72 -0.71
PSX $6.80 $3.40 $3.60 -0.2
SON $2.90 $1.45 $1.72 -0.27

Two stocks stand out.  One is Chevron with poor recent earnings.  It appears that covering the dividend with earnings could be a problem.

The other stock is Cullen and Frost Bankers.  If their earnings are cut in half they can still cover the dividend.


EXAMPLES OF STOCKS TO ADD FOR DIVIDEND AND CALL PREMIUM INCOME


If you use a covered call strategy on stocks where you keep your low cost basis shares and trade more expensive shares you boost your income with covered calls.
  • 10% correction on your most recent buy
  • Each add should have a call yielding no less than a quarterly dividend
  • Strike price is above the price of your add

Again using the holdings in my 2011 portfolio, I found 2 additional stocks where I have a gain, but a 10% or more recent loss.  These stocks have good balance sheets, but their dividends are less than the yield on the portfolio.  

They are Intel, INTC and Raytheon, RTN.  

Buying stocks with a puny dividend  at higher prices than my cost basis makes me question my judgement.  I do it when I can supplement my income with covered calls. 

Today  I looked at calls on all the above mentioned stocks and here is what I found.

Symbol Price Strike Premium Added Yield Expires
RTN $201.34 $220.00 $2.40 1.19% 4/17/2020
INTC $58.68 $65.00 $1.10 1.87% 5/15/2020
CFR $79.24 $85.00 $1.50 1.89% 4/17/2020
PSX $74.63 $82.50 $1.50 2.01% 5/15/2020

If I add additional shares, even with the correction, I am adding to my cost basis all for the purpose of increasing my income.  If I keep the shares beause the call expires, I have added a quality stock and I have beat the yield on my portfolio.  Just by adding an extra quarterly dividend per year on a quality stock, you increase your income by 25% .    If my shares are taken, I pocket both the premium and capital gain.   

These are all good scenarios.  Should the shares retreat again and I have money to invest, I will do the same analysis as presented above.

This is a volatile market.  Do your home work and do the math on your trades.  You can make a living on dividend stocks and covered calls.  

M* MoneyMadam

Disclosure:  Long INTC, CVX,