CEF Investors: Here’s What to Buy in This Levitating Market

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One of my favorite quotes about closed-end funds (CEFs) comes from Richard Thaler. When writing about why investors bought some CEFs for more than they’re worth, he simply said: “There are idiots,” and that this was “the only satisfactory answer to this … puzzle.”

That, er, very direct, quote comes to mind now because these days, it’s actually pretty easy to pick up CEFs (which yield around 7%, on average) trading at nice discounts to net asset value (NAV, or the value of their underlying holdings). There are literally hundreds of examples, some of them extreme.

The most discounted equity CEF trades at a whopping 26.7% discount as I write this.… Read more

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Let me start with a special shout out to our dedicated readers at Barron’s. Here at Contrarian Outlook, we’ve been drawing up the playbook to retire on dividends for years (Two years ago, we literally wrote the book on the retirement strategy.)

So it was a hoot to see Barron’s run a cover story about retiring on dividends. But I have a bit of constructive criticism about the piece: the dividend stocks highlighted in the feature article had yields too low to actually retire on.

The magazine’s 10 buys included Coca-Cola (KO), International Business Machines (IBM) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and had an average current yield of 4.1% between them (as of the time the piece was written).… Read more

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Let me start with a special shout out to our dedicated readers at Barron’s. Here at Contrarian Outlook, we’ve been drawing up the playbook to retire on dividends for years (Two years ago, we literally wrote the book on the retirement strategy.)

So it was a hoot to see Barron’s run a cover story about retiring on dividends. But I have a bit of constructive criticism about the piece: the dividend stocks highlighted in the feature article had yields too low to actually retire on.

The magazine’s 10 buys included Coca-Cola (KO), International Business Machines (IBM) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and had an average current yield of 4.1% between them (as of the time the piece was written).… Read more

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Tech stocks have finally taken a breather—and we’re going to pounce on this dip—and grab a rare “double discount” while we’re at it.

The strategy we’re going to use also lets us “squeeze” the biggest tech names for payouts that are unheard of in the sector—I’m talking yields up to 6.3%.

Mom’s Coupon-Clipping Goes High-Tech

This approach is an ode to my mom who, to this day, refuses to pay the sticker price. If there’s a coupon to be found, she’ll find it and find another coupon to secure a double discount—even if it requires management approval to apply!

The dividend equivalent of the back-to-back coupon is buying discounted closed-end funds (CEFs) after a pullback, and that’s exactly the setup we’ve got in tech now.… Read more

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I sure hope you didn’t listen to the nervous Nellies who told you to pull your cash out of stocks ahead of the election. Since October 30, the S&P 500 has jumped more than 5%, as of this writing.

And remember tech stocks, the sector everyone seemed to be leaving for dead a few days ago? They’re up nearly 7%, going by the tech benchmark Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ).

2020 Pulls a Fast One on Panic Sellers (Again!)

This is particularly painful if you’re a dividend investor. If you sold just a few days ago, you’re now forced to buy back in at higher prices—and lower yields!… Read more

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Closed-end funds (CEFs) are the ultimate “sleeper” investment—if you hold them, you know they hand out massive dividends (7% yields, on average!). Plus, their often-discounted share prices set you up for serious upside, too.

But it looks like the mainstream crowd is about to crash our CEF party. That means if you’re not in now, this is the time to climb aboard, before our CEFs’ big discounts become a distant memory.

CEF Managers Put Out the Bait

Funnily enough, the ones drawing attention to CEFs these days are CEF managers themselves. According to The Wall Street Journal, these pros have been cutting their fees in a bid to draw in new investors.… Read more

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Sometimes, picking the best contrarian stocks can be fairly straightforward.

For instance, back in early spring, it seemed obvious to anyone who went a bit deeper than the daily headlines to see that the market wasn’t giving tech stocks their due, given its importance during the lockdown and its potential for big post–COVID-19 growth.

So in April I wrote an article that highlighted the Columbia Seligman Premium Tech Fund (STK), a closed-end fund (CEF) primed to benefit from surging online shopping, rising mobile data use and the fast shift toward working from home. Plus, STK yielded an outsized 9.4%, so you were getting a large part of your profits in dividend cash.… Read more

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You can be forgiven for not looking to the big-name tech stocks for high dividends. Just look at this rogue’s gallery of pathetic payouts!

  • Facebook (FB): Dividend yield: 0%
  • Amazon.com (AMZN): Dividend yield: 0%
  • Apple (AAPL): Dividend yield: 0.9%
  • Netflix (NFLX): Dividend yield: 0%
  • Google, a.k.a. Alphabet (GOOGL): Dividend yield: 0%

Those are the so-called FAANG stocks—the darlings of the tech world. But they’re no place for retirees, or anyone else on the hunt for dividends. (Though there is one often-ignored way to get an 8.5% dividend from them; more on that in a second.)

Luckily for the folks who hold these stocks, which make up about 17% of the S&P 500, they’ve made up for their pathetic—or nonexistent—dividends in outsized price gains as the market has bounced back.… Read more

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The dividend-cut parade is starting on Wall Street, and we need to be on the lookout for “payout traps” that could be hiding in our portfolios (often in plain sight).

That task is made tougher because some companies are using unconventional approaches to cutting their payouts. Take the Walt Disney Company (DIS), which released first-quarter earnings last week. Included: news that Disney wouldn’t pay out dividends for the first half of 2020.

Disney’s Dividend Growth Stalls

After decades of growing its payouts (that dip you see in 2012 above is when the company went from annual to semi-annual payments—annualized payouts actually went up 19% that year), Disney isn’t outright announcing its dividend cut; it’s simply telling investors they may have to wait to get cash in their hands.… Read more

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If you’re like many investors these days, you’re warily eyeing your portfolio, wondering where the next dividend cut will come from.

Fear of dividend cuts is reasonable, even if you hold the Dividend Aristocrats—the 63 S&P 500 firms that have raised their payouts for 25 years (or more). This club includes well-known names like McDonald’s (MCD), Lowe’s (LOW), Kimberly-Clark (KMB) and Procter & Gamble (PG), as well as less familiar firms, like Sysco (SYY), VF Corporation (VFC) and Linde (LIN).

For many folks, the Aristocrats are sacred cows. But the crisis will inevitably force some of these companies to cut payouts in the weeks and months ahead.… Read more

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