Call a Cop! This Elite 11.8% Dividend is a Steal

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Me: “Let’s find companies with lots of debt and buy them. And make a lot of money.”

You: “Wait, what?”

(Nod as always to the late, great Norm Macdonald.)

Hear me out. Last week, plain vanilla investors threw a midweek fit when Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell said something we contrarians assumed already: No rate cut coming in March.

The Fed decides the Fed funds rate. This often cues the two-year Treasury yield to follow. (Yes, sometimes, the two-year leads. As always in economics and relationships, it’s complicated.)

We can debate who leads who, but the key is that the Fed controls short-term rates, but the bond market determines long-term rates.… Read more

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You and I, my fellow contrarian, are old enough to remember when “I bonds”—US savings bonds designed to protect you from inflation—yielded 9.62%.

It was May 2022. Just 14 months ago!

Ah, the good ol’ days. Since then, Series I savings bond rates have tumbled to 4.3%.

Many readers wrote in with I bond questions earlier this year. The savings vehicles boasted a still sweet 6.89%. But they had two major limitations:

  • I bonds tie up our money for a year.
  • We can only invest $15,000 in them annually.

(The annual limit is $10,000 per person, plus an extra $5,000 per year if using a federal tax refund.… Read more

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I’m sure you probably know this—but it is usually a really bad idea to pay 43-times sales for a stock.

Note that I did not say earnings. I said sales. Revenues. The ol’ top line. Before everything.

Scott McNealy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, famously told investors it was insane to pay 10-times sales for Sun’s stock. Ten!

At 10 times revenues, to give you a 10-year payback, I have to pay you 100% of revenues for 10 straight years in dividends.


That assumes I can get that by my shareholders. That assumes I have zero cost of goods… that assumes I have zero expenses… that assumes I pay no taxes… assumes zero R&D.

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It used to be that finding a decent yield in the stock market was easy.

Just seven years ago, all you had to do was buy an ETF in a sector that got income hounds’ hearts racing, like the Utilities Select SPDR ETF (XLU) and lock in an easy 4.48% payout:

The “Good Old Days” Are Over for Utility Fans

But do the same today, and you’ll get just 3.1% for your trouble, no thanks to the merciless rise in stocks (and shriveling of yields) driven by a decade of near-zero interest rates.

And sure, a 3.1% payout may still sound okay.…
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