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Dividend Investor
Safe Income and Dividend Growth
Inflation has come down. But in the past, when inflation stayed this high for this long, it took about a decade to get rid of it. That’s why the inflation rate averaged 7.25% in the decade of the 1970s and 5.82% in the 1980s.

Once that inflation genie gets out of the bottle, it has historically been a long ordeal to get it back in. Higher inflation and interest rates may persist for several years to come. That’s a different economic situation than we have faced in a long time. And it is changing the investment landscape.

As investors, we need to invest in a way that not only keeps pace with inflation but exceeds the rate of inflation in order to actually grow a nest egg in real terms. In this issue, I highlight two portfolio dividend stocks that have a unique ability to thrive during inflation beyond most dividend stocks.
The market is at a crossroad.

It is possible that we could get through this cycle soon and without a recession. The market could rally to new highs without much more trouble. On the other hand, a more hawkish Fed or deeper economic downturn than currently anticipated could cause another market plunge.

You could just bet on one scenario and hope for the best. But there might be a better way to navigate these waters. Instead of gambling on a certain outcome, we can buy stocks that should thrive in both bull and bear markets.

In this month’s issue, I highlight four current portfolio positions that are “all-weather” stocks. These stocks should do just fine if the market takes off and doesn’t look back in a soft landing. But they should also perform relatively well in case a more ugly scenario unfolds. They should be solid in almost any kind of market environment and pay you a great income in the meantime.
Sure, it was a tough year for stocks. But 2022 was the worst year ever recorded for bonds.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury lost more than 15% in 2022, the worst calendar year performance ever recorded since it started being tracked in the 1920s. The 10-year + Treasury Bond Index lost 29.45% for the year, also the worst performance on record.

But the disastrous year creates an opportunity. Last year seems to have squeezed many years of poor performance into one. Now bonds actually pay decent interest again. And every negative year for bonds ever recorded has been followed by a year of positive returns.

In this issue, I highlight a long-term corporate bond fund. It allows access to some of the highest yielding investment grade bonds in the last 15 years while also providing a monthly income. The fund is very likely to have a positive total return for the year, and perhaps very positive, at a time when the stock market is highly uncertain.
It is reasonable to expect a significant market turnaround sometime next year. The market trends higher over time. And bear markets always give way to bull markets. Things should get a lot better in 2023. But there is a strong chance they get worse first given the current uncertainties regarding inflation, the Fed, and a recession.

Of course, a recovery and new bull market should reward the short-term pain handsomely over time. As a longer-term investor, which dividend investors should be, it should just be short-term noise on the way to long-term profits. But we can do better than just riding out the storm. We can exploit another possible market downturn to our advantage.

It’s a fact that many stocks that get hurt the worst in a bear market are the first to recover when the market turns. In this issue, I highlight a phenomenal cyclical stock that had been a market superstar but has been clobbered in this bear market. The stock is targeted at a low, low price that may be reached if the market falls to a new low. It could provide incredible upside leverage ahead of a market recovery.
The Fed has raised the Fed Funds rate six times this year to combat inflation and the last four times at a 0.75% clip. The current 4% rate is the highest in well over a decade. But inflation hasn’t budged even after the rate hikes, a shrinking GDP, and a bear market.

At the November meeting, the Fed Chairmen stated that the previous 4.5% to 5.0% Fed Funds goal no longer applies. It will have to go higher. The U.S. economy is resilient, but it will eventually give way to the forces aligned against it. It is almost certain that there will be a recession in 2023.

Meanwhile, for the first time since forever, you can get investment-grade, fixed-rate investments that pay 5% or even 6%, for now. But recessions put downward pressure on longer interest rates as loan demand dries up.

In this issue, I highlight a rare opportunity to lock in a high fixed rate while it lasts and add balance and diversification to the portfolio. Let’s not miss it.
In an otherwise miserable year of nonstop inflation, recession, the Fed, and a bear market, an opportunity is emerging for opportunistic investors. Attractive rates on conservative fixed-rate investments have reemerged. There is a chance to lock in rates not seen since the decade before last.

In this issue, I highlight an investment grade rated fixed income security that currently yields nearly 6%, and the income offers tax advantages to boot.
It’s been a rough year for stocks. And things may get worse before they get better. Meanwhile, money markets pay barely anything, and you never know when the market will turn.
Dividends are a great answer for a market like this.

They provide an income and lower volatility in turbulent markets and make it easier to stay invested ahead of the next bull market. Dividends account for most of the market returns during flat and down markets and excel during times of inflation.

In this issue, I highlight a company in one of the most defensive and recession-resistant industries on the market that currently pays a massive 8% yield. The stock is already cheap and likely near the trough of its own bear market with far more upside than downside over time to complement the high dividend.

We are likely in a recession. Meanwhile, inflation continues to rage on. That means stocks will have to navigate an environment of both recession and inflation, at least for the rest of the year.
That’s tricky because few companies perform well with both. Commodity-based companies thrive in inflation but struggle in recession. Many defensive companies that shine in recession don’t like inflation.

In this month’s issue, I highlight a stock in one of the rare sectors that can successfully navigate both recession and rising prices at the same time – midstream energy. Strong operational performance, a low valuation, and a high and safe yield are perfect for the current situation.

It’s a bear market. And there is a good chance that stocks make new lows in the weeks and months ahead.
Bear markets create fantastic opportunities for longer-term investors. History shows that bear markets create ideal entry points ahead of the next bull market. Let’s not just weather the storm. Let’s take full advantage of the very possible further downside from here in the market.

In this issue, I highlight one of the very best stocks on the market with a targeted low, low price that may be reached in the panic selling of a market bottom. Specifically, we target a highly desirable stock at a dirt-cheap price with a good ‘til cancel (GTC) at the designated price.

It’s a raging bear market in technology.
But technology has been by far the best performing sector for well over a decade for good reasons. We are in fact in a technological revolution. Technological advances are accelerating. It feeds on itself and is transforming the world. Technology is where there is massive growth and excitement for the future.

Sure, the market might get cranky in the near term. Inflation and higher rates might be all the rage right now. But technology isn’t going away. It’s likely to grow even bigger in the future. The time to buy such stocks is when they are cheap and out of favor.

In this issue, I highlight three existing portfolio positions in the technology sector ready for purchase. All of these stocks sell at compelling valuations with strong growth likely ahead. They are victims of indiscriminate selling in the sector. At some point, hopefully sooner, investors will realize the value that has been created by this year’s market turmoil.

It might not be too early to bargain hunt very selectively. Companies that are likely to continue to grow earnings and the dividend are likely to recover. There is one such opportunity in the cannabis sector.

The sector has been decimated in this market. The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ), the largest cannabis ETF, has fallen almost 50%, and 70% from the 2021 high. The selloff has taken the most reliable money maker in the sector down with it, despite continuing success and earnings growth.

In this issue, I highlight this reliable and high-growth stock. It pays a better than 5% yield and the payout is likely to grow, as earnings are expected to grow 37% this year.

The market situation is changing. Amidst persistent high inflation and concerns about future economic and earnings growth, investors are adjusting. Energy is up nearly 40% YTD as that sector benefits from inflation. Utilities and Consumer Staples are also thriving as investors focus on value, defense, and income in the market uncertainty.
Many stocks in the CDI portfolio have performed well and are likely to continue doing so. But because of the high prices they are rated a HOLD. However, there are two standout positions. In this month’s issue, I highlight two stocks that have what it takes in this market. They both benefit in the current environment, sell at reasonable valuations, and pay sky-high yields.

The market situation is changing for the worse overall. But there are still great opportunities if you know where to look.

There’s a new worry in the market – recession. Just when the Fed is finally chilling out, investors are moving on to the next bummer. The market still stinks, just for different reasons.

Until a couple of weeks ago the main concern was a more hawkish Fed. But the banking situation has mellowed the Fed, and the Central Bank just indicated it is nearly done hiking rates. It’s a relief on the Fed front but the economy could be a problem now.
Fallout from the bank failures and the Fed meeting tomorrow make this a big week in the market.

Let’s deal with the banks first. After the two bank failures this week and the buyout of ailing Credit Suisse (CS) over the weekend, the spotlight is on potentially vulnerable small regional banks. Although Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse are very different banks with different problems, the common denominator is the markets, particularly the bond market.
After moving higher in January, stocks fell back again in February. After falling last week, stocks are sharply higher this week. Why can’t the market seem to make up its mind?

The main catalyst for the market so far this year is the perception of the inflation/Fed situation. When investors sense inflation falling and the Fed is almost done hiking rates, stocks rally. When they believe inflation is remaining sticky and the Fed will have to remain aggressive for a lot longer, stocks fall. This dynamic has been on full display in the last few trading days.
January was up. February was down. What’s next?

The S&P 500 rallied 6.2% in the first month of the year but pulled back 2.3% in February (as of Monday’s close). The market is still in positive territory YTD. But that could change.
The impressive early year rally has ended. The S&P ended its third straight down week on Friday and is sharply lower to start this week.

The “soft landing” optimism of January has given way to concern about a hawkish Fed and rising long-term rates. Inflation had been coming down, and the Fed appeared to be chilling out while the economy remained on solid footing. But a continued strong economy, a rise in January inflation, and a more belligerent Fed are spoiling the party.
January inflation came out. It wasn’t good. Is this rally doomed?

It has been a good year so far in the market. The S&P 500 is up about 8% and the Nasdaq has rallied more than 13% in just the first six weeks of this year. Stocks have been lifted by optimism of a soft landing.
The market is doing everything it can so far this year to be unlike 2022. It’s up. And the best performing sectors are cyclical.

So far this year, the S&P 500 is up about 5% and the technology stock-heavy Nasdaq is up almost 10% in just a month. Not only are the indexes higher but they are being driven by last year’s worst performing sectors, technology and consumer discretionary.
We are just weeks into a year that has so far been better and different than last year.

The S&P 500 is up 4.7% in January after falling 19.4% in 2022. The winners and losers are also different. The best performing sectors are last year’s worst performing, technology and consumer staples. The worst performing sectors are last year’s best performers (with the exception of energy): healthcare, utilities and consumer staples.

Is this a portent of things to come or just a temporary reallocation?
Earnings season is here again. It’s that time of the quarter that has so often buoyed and reinvigorated the market. But this one is unusual because average earnings are expected to shrink.

Earnings boomed after the pandemic. But now there are much tougher year-over-year comparisons and a slowing economy. The average earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to decline 3.9% from last year’s fourth quarter.
A terrible year in the market just ended and it is highly likely that this year will be much better. That’s good news. The bad news is that the first part of 2023 may be just like 2022.

The results are in. The indexes returned the following for 2022; S&P 500 (-19.4%), Dow Jones (-9%), and the Nasdaq (-33%). It was the worst year for stocks since the financial crisis year of 2008. Plus, many individual stocks were down far more than the indexes.
Another year is coming to an end. It was a crummy year for the market. The current roughly -20% YTD return for the S&P 500 with two days left marks the worst yearly performance for the market since 2008.

Although it’s been a tough year for stocks, history strongly suggests that 2023 should be a lot better. In the last 42 years, there have only been 7 calendar years of negative market returns and 35 years of positive returns. Of those 7 negative years, 5 were followed by years when the market rebounded at least 20%.
This year stunk. Next year should be better. Remember that if the market falls to a new low early next year.

There are some very good reasons to believe the market will turn around in 2023. Stocks trend higher over time. The average bear market lasts around 15 months. This one is almost a year old. Of the seven negative-returning calendar years for the market since 1980, five were followed by years of returns of over 20%.
Special Bulletin - Audio
Early Tuesday morning Biopharmaceutical giant AbbVie (ABBV) announced plans to acquire Ireland-based Allergan plc (AGN) for $63 billion. The market hates the deal and AbbVie stock plummeted over 16% on the day. Let’s take a look at the deal and see what’s going on.
As you noticed, yesterday’s issue of Cabot Dividend Investor was jointly edited by Chloe Lutts Jensen, for whom it was the final issue, and Tom Hutchinson, for whom it was the first.
One of our positions reported middling third-quarter results this morning, and the stock opened 6% lower, although it’s already making up some of those losses. As a result, we’re moving it to Hold.
Yesterday brought widespread carnage to the markets, which has carried on to today, but some tech stocks have found support. For now we are going to be watching and waiting, but I want to comment on three current holdings.
One of our positions fell nearly 7% after reporting earnings Friday, and the stock started today with further losses. With the lack of support, it means more downside is the most likely near-term scenario here and it’s time to sell.
Markets pulled back yesterday and the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all closed lower. A couple of our holdings were hit particularly hard, so I wanted to send a quick update on two of our positions even though I’m not recommending any action.
One of our stocks reported EPS that missed estimates and lowered its guidance range this morning, and the stock opened 4% lower. We’ll look for an opportunity to unload the rest of our shares over the coming few days.
Given the shakiness of the broad market, we want to be reducing our exposure to weak stocks today. As noted in yesterday’s update, we’re going to reduce risk today by taking partial profits in one of our positions.
Markets ended last week on a sour note as the U.S. and China imposed tit-for-tat tariffs and Facebook continued to drag tech stocks lower. The major indexes all declined more than 5% for the week, their worst weekly performance in over two years. I’m moving two of our most affected stocks to Hold today.
After a half-hearted mid-week bounce, the stock market had another rough day yesterday. The S&P 500 fell almost 4%, and is now 10% off its all-time high. That means we’re now officially in a correction, although we didn’t really need yesterday to tell us that.
Our latest recommendation, pulled back sharply after reporting earnings Friday morning.