Weekly Market Summary: Riding Wave of Momentum Into Earnings Season

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The Contrary Investing Report > NYSE:IBM

The S&P 500 snapped an eight-session winning streak on Tuesday, but U.S. stocks still have strong momentum heading into the first-quarter earnings season.

The index flirted with the 2,900 level this week, which is a price that we haven’t seen since last October. One big change since then is that average U.S. earnings showed 20%-plus year-over-year growth in the first three quarters of 2018 and now we’re staring at the first quarterly earnings decline in the S&P 500 in three years.

The quarterly reports we’ll see over the next few weeks will go a long way to determining if the recent momentum can continue.… Read more

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A stock’s yield is only as good as its cash flow because, after all, a dividend is nothing more than a promise from a company.

CenturyLink (CTL) recently reminded us of this. Its promised $0.54 per share dividend exceeded its ability to pay. The firm’s payout ratio of 130% – the percentage of profits that it was paying as dividends – was an absurd overpromise that couldn’t last forever:

CenturyLink’s Payout Promise Was Always on Borrowed Time

CEO Jeffrey Storey insisted his team remained “committed to and confident in our ability to maintain the dividend.” I understood the commitment, but questioned the confidence – taking on debt to pay dividends is a losing game.… Read more

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The broader stock market averages digested recent gains this week, as trading activity was shortened by the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.

Trade talks with China appear to have reached a stalemate, as U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday that the two sides were “miles and miles” apart from settling trade issues. Back at home, the Federal government shutdown found a temporary solution on Friday. The deal re-opens government operations through Feb. 15, as Congress and the White House will continue to discuss border security.

Earnings Season in Full Force

Despite the holiday, it was a busy week for earnings.… Read more

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What’s the best way to add the consistent income growth of the Dividend Aristocrats to your portfolio without paying the “royalty premium” of these popular, well-covered stocks?

Buy ‘em while they’re young.

Right now, there are a handful of stocks I want to show you today that are knocking on the door of Dividend Aristocrats membership. We’re talking only one to three years shy of the 25-year benchmark of consecutive annual dividend increases.

That means they still boast more than two decades’ worth of higher payouts, which is plenty of proof that they’ve got bulletproof financials and put shareholders’ interests on a pedestal.…
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Today we’re going to rank the longest-lasting dividends on the planet – five stocks that have written checks to shareholders for at least a century.

Dividends don’t get more secure than that.

Think about what the world was like in 1917. The United States was in the midst of World War I. Girl Scout cookies and Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars were in their infancy. And the Dow Jones Industrial Average made several attempts on the 100 mark.

Yes, 100.

Since then, the United States has suffered 16 recessions and a pair of depressions, including the granddaddy of them all, the Great Depression of 1929-1933.…
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Technology changes so fast these days that firms in the sector can see their profits quickly vanish.

Sadly, their dividends can disappear just as quickly!

Recently, we’ve seen companies such as Windstream (WIN), Frontier Communications (FTR) and Allegheny Technologies (ATI) cut or outright drop their dividends, with sky-high yields suddenly evaporating, leaving retirement investors in the lurch.

More pain could be on the way. A trio of tempting tech-stock yields, including two double-digit payouts, look destined for failure.

These stocks might seem like a shoo-in as contrarian investing targets. By simply buying over-punished stocks and waiting for a reversion back to a positive mean – think the “Dogs of the Dow” – investors could collect twofold on both the recovery and the elevated dividends.…
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Warren Buffett doesn’t just beat the market – he makes a mockery of it. Since Buffett took control of Berkshire Hathaway back in the middle of 1965, the conglomerate has more than doubled the average annual gain of the S&P 500.

But here’s something you won’t hear anywhere else – Buffett doesn’t love all of his stocks equally. In fact, there are three dividend dogs that I bet he’d sell today if he could get away with it.

Let’s look at six of Buffett’s current income plays to separate his three buys from his three sells.

SELL – Verizon Communications (VZ)
Dividend Yield: 5%

Verizon Communications (VZ) is technically in the Buffett boat, but it’s not exactly a high-conviction pick anymore.…
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When blue chips get too popular – like the five I’m going to show you today – these “safe stocks” can actually be dangerous to continue holding in your portfolio.

The problem with blue-chip stocks? Call it the “Curse of the Dow.” The Curse says a stock that joins the Dow Jones Industrial Average will essentially hit a wall, underperforming in the ensuing months compared to how it performed before ascension. It’s not perfect, but it’s close – since 1999, 15 of 16 stocks that have joined the Dow have averaged 1% gains over the next six months, but averaged 11% gains in the six months before inclusion.

Why? There are a few factors, but one of the most prevailing is that by the point a stock has joined the Dow, it’s typically nearing the end of its growth ramp and reaching the slower-growth “mature” part of the business cycle. …
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