Downside Volatility Reappears

Posted on August 1, 2014 | Dividend Investing

Downside volatility reappeared yesterday as the major indexes fell around 2%. It was the second-worst day of the year for the Dow Jones industrial average and the third-worst day of the year for the S&P 500 index. More importantly, it wasn’t unusual. Daily moves of 2% have occurred in a variety of bull and bear markets throughout market history. It just feels unusual because the markets have been so relatively calm this year.

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Operating Cash Flow: Measuring Day-to-Day Profitability

Posted on July 31, 2014 | Dividend Investing

In the June DI Monthly, we introduced the statement of cash flows, which shows how much cash a company is generating through operations as well as through changes in company assets, liabilities and equity. This month, we examine the calculations behind cash flow from operating activities, which is a measure of the amount of cash generated by normal business operations through revenues from selling goods and providing services. It excludes activities classified as investing activities or financing activities.

Cash flow from operating activities (also known as operating cash flow or cash flow from operations) has a very simple objective-to show whether a firm’s day-to-day operations generated or depleted cash. If net cash flow from operations is negative, it means that the company is spending more cash than it is generating in producing and selling its goods and services. If it is positive, the company is generating more cash than it is spending on its day-to-day operations.

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Lots of Results News to Share

Posted on July 25, 2014 | Dividend Investing

We have much earnings news to share with you this week, so we’re going to keep our opening comments brief. In general, earnings have been good, but not great. There were some positive surprises, but also some misses too. Mostly, the DI companies have been performing as we expected them to.

Wall Street is very focused on short-term results. As investors, we’re more focused on the trends. We want to know how a business is evolving and whether the change is in a positive or negative direction. Sometimes a quarterly report can be enough to give us reason to reconsider our position in a stock; more often, however, it is a trend built over several quarters that will alter our opinion.

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Where Is the Cash Going?

Posted on July 18, 2014 | Dividend Investing

Ned Davis Research sent out a chart this week breaking down how S&P 500 companies spent their cash for the four quarters ending March 31, 2014. The largest amount was spent on net investments ($690.2 billion). Capital expenditures came in second at a record $666.4 billion. Share repurchases ranked third at $554.1 billion, which Ned Davis Research says is the largest four-quarter amount since the period ending December 31, 2007. Dividends ranked fourth at a record $344.3 billion.

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Keeping Things in Perspective

Posted on July 11, 2014 | Dividend Investing

This morning’s headlines proclaimed things like “S&P Suffers Worse Week in Months.” The large-cap index did incur its worst weekly performance since April, but this week’s loss was only 0.9%. A weekly decline of 1% or 2% is pretty normal. It just feels worse because of the market’s upward march.

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Mergers, One Deletion and the July Monthly Report

Posted on July 3, 2014 | Dividend Investing

The July monthly report, Dial “M” for Merger, is now available. In it, we discuss the five pending mergers DI stocks are involved with…

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Wheeling and Dealing

Posted on June 27, 2014 | Dividend Investing

Mergers and acquisitions seem to be the market theme this year. Corporations flush with cash are opening their wallets in hopes of gaining market share and enhancing their competitive position. According to Forbes, global mergers and acquisitions activity deals have surpassed $1.75 trillion year-to-date, the highest level since the first half of 2007, before the Great Recession.

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DI Companies Are Playing ‘Let’s Make a Deal’

Posted on June 20, 2014 | Dividend Investing

We have news of another potential merger in the DI portfolio. At the start of this week, Medtronic Inc. (MDT) reached an agreement to purchase Covidien Plc (COV). Details about the merger can be found in the News and Notes section below. The announcement has made headlines less for the merger itself, however, and more for Medtronic’s move of its corporate headquarters to Ireland.

Ireland is known for its low corporate tax rate and this fact has been brought up in articles about the merger. Due to the higher scrutiny being given to corporate tax issues lately, we don’t know if this will present a hurdle for Medtronic or not. There are business reasons to justify the merger as well. Nonetheless, Ireland’s tax rate is what is making the headlines right now.

If the merger is completed, the tax status of the dividend would change. Medtronic’s dividend would go from being domestic to foreign. We are waiting for Medtronic to give guidance on the tax treatment of the dividend before explaining how the change will impact U.S. investors. We can tell you, however, that the United States does a have a tax treaty with Ireland.

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A Spin-Off Is Forthcoming

Posted on June 13, 2014 | Dividend Investing

This type of transaction involves selling the assets to a smaller company, then creating a subsidiary that in turn merges with the smaller company to create a new company. This complicated type of transaction allows the parent company to avoid incurring taxes on the transaction.

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A New Stock and the June Monthly Report

Posted on June 6, 2014 | Dividend Investing

Details about our stock change and a thorough introduction to our latest addition can be found in the June Monthly Report, but we’ll give you an overview here…

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