Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Income Advisor
Conservative investing. Double-digit income.
Issues
It’s a great time for income. The market is at an all-time high. The May through November period is historically a more lackluster period for stocks. Income generation is an ideal way to generate positive returns when stocks aren’t rising. But not if the stocks generating the income get knocked down by rising rates.

There is a great answer: midstream energy stocks. These are companies that transport and store oil and gas for a fee. The subsector is among the highest yielding of all income-generating stocks. And unlike many dividend stocks, they have thrived over the last few years of rising interest rates. For the most part, these stocks are not interest rate sensitive and can endure inflation or recession. They have proven to be the perfect sector to generate a high income in this market environment.

In this issue I highlight a stock that has been the very best income generator in the Cabot Income Advisor portfolio. It has been held profitably in the portfolio on three past occasions. Each time it delivered a positive total return along with several covered calls for huge income. It’s a tested and true income-generating superstar.

The rally sputtered. And it’s all about interest rates.

Investors had been factoring in falling interest rates and a soft landing. But now, investors are increasingly expecting no landing and continued high rates. Recent strong economic numbers, along with higher-than-expected inflation, are changing the perception.

It looks like these high rates will stick around for a while. And most stocks don’t like high rates. But not all. There are some companies that actually thrive with higher interest rates. And that creates opportunity. In this issue, I highlight a stock that pays a massive dividend generated by these high interest rates. As income investors, we can reap the bounty.
The title sounds counterintuitive. After all, the market has been terrific. And technology stocks, which rarely pay dividends, are leading the charge.

The S&P 500 has spent much of this year making new all-time highs. The index has rallied 27% since late October and 46% from the low in October of 2022. But most of those gains have been driven by the technology sector, which represents an outsized portion of the S&P. Returns for the rest of the market have been rather lame.
The Goldilocks scenario of falling inflation and a still-strong economy is unlikely to last. Interest rates will have to come down before long or the recession that the market is dismissing might be just a little further down the road. But recent higher-than-expected inflation is making lower rates less likely.

Sure, the rally could last for a while. The economy always seems to be more resilient than people expect. But the circumstances behind the rally since October are unlikely to last. This environment will change. For that reason, it doesn’t make sense to chase stocks that have been working so far this year. It’s better to position ahead of a new dynamic that is likely coming.

Change creates opportunity. There are many great income stocks that are not benefiting from this rally. Yet these stocks are selling at historically very cheap valuations with high yields. These stocks also can thrive in a slowing economy. In this issue, I highlight two stocks in particular that are cheap and high-yielding ahead of a period of likely market outperformance.

I believe the good news will prevail in 2024. But you never know. Forget about trying to predict the direction of the overall market. However, certain aspects of the current environment and established trends are much more bankable.

For example, it is highly likely that interest rates have peaked. Sure, rates could bounce higher than they are now. But that 5% peak level on the 10-year Treasury is unlikely to be eclipsed, at least in this cycle. Artificial intelligence is here to stay. Businesses must spend on it not only for competitive advantage but as a matter of survival. The new technology will continue to be a strong growth catalyst for technology stocks.

In this issue, I highlight a fantastic dividend stock whose long record of strong performance has been interrupted these last two years because of rising interest rates. It’s also a company that focuses on technology and will surely benefit from the proliferation of AI in the years ahead. The timing for this stock should be outstanding.
The market has had seven consecutive higher weeks. And the positive momentum should continue into the new year.

The S&P 500 is up 12.5% in the last seven weeks and 23% for 2023. But those returns are deceiving. Until the market rally broadened out recently, only seven large technology company stocks accounted for nearly all the gains.

Many stocks are still in a bear market. In fact, certain more interest rate-sensitive stocks recently fell to the lowest level since the trough of the pandemic market more than three years ago, although they have rebounded with falling interest rates recently.

Buying stocks in the throes of a bear market has proven to be a winning strategy over time. Buying stocks after they have already started to climb out of the lows has proven to be a winning strategy sooner.

The timing may be perfect for a rare opportunity to generate much higher returns than can normally be expected from stocks of defensive companies. In this issue, I highlight a defensive stock that had been a stellar performer before inflation and rising interest rates took hold. It is priced near the lowest valuations in its history and has recently been generating upward momentum.
There has been a dramatic turnaround in the market this month. After falling for three straight months, the S&P 500 has rallied 7.6% in the first three weeks of November. The main reason for the turnaround is interest rates.

If the current Wall Street expectation that the benchmark 10-year Treasury rate peaked at 5% is true, it should be positive for stocks, or at least eliminate a big negative.

The current consensus is very positive. Inflation appears subdued, the Fed is done hiking rates, and the economy is nowhere near a recession. It appears that we are having a “soft landing,” where the market gets through this rate-hiking cycle without the usual economic pain. Of course, things can change. The positive situation could discombobulate next year.

We’ll see what happens in the new year. But the prognosis for stocks looks good for at least the rest of the year. It’s a good time to take advantage of stocks that have risen to new 52-week highs and command high-priced calls. In this issue, I highlight sizable covered call premiums for recently surging Intel (INTC) and the first call for Digital Realty Trust (DLR).
The market has been choppy and unpredictable. Optimism about a “soft landing” is being tempered by rising interest rates. Either the strong economy or high interest rates will dominate the market in the months ahead. We’ll see.

But what seems to be quite clear is that the economy is solid for now. Third-quarter GDP is expected to be over 5%. Even if the economy does slow, it will likely take several quarters to slow from here. That means gasoline demand should remain solid. And that should be good news for refiners.

In this issue I highlight one of the best performing large company stocks in the energy sector over the last several years. It is also one of the few plays out there that still has solid momentum, as the stock remains in an uptrend that began three years ago.

Good momentum means high call premiums as more investors are willing to be on higher prices in the future. The refiner stock highlighted in this issue has a great chance of providing the opportunity to sell covered calls in the near future. It should help generate a high income in this uncertain environment.
The stock market is inherently unpredictable in the near term. That’s what makes it a market. But it has been especially hard to predict in recent years. And there might be more of the same going forward.

There could be continued economic growth with rising interest rates and inflation or an economy bounding toward recession in the next couple of quarters, or anything in between. Sure, the market could find the means to rally with a desirable in between scenario. But it is more likely that the market will just bounce around or move lower.

Amid such uncertainty, it makes sense to find stocks that can weather any scenario. Instead of placing a bet on what the Fed or inflation or the economy might or might not do, it makes sense to seek out an all-weather income generator.

In this issue, I highlight the stock of a company that operates in an incredible niche market that has provided earnings growth for 31 consecutive years and enabled the stock to consistently outperform the market in every kind of environment. The company is positioned for strong growth in the years ahead and is selling below its average valuations over the last five years despite the high-priced market.
This market has confounded a lot of people over the past few years. Individual market sectors have been as perplexing as the indexes. Last year, the worst performing market sector by far was technology. This year it is by far the best performing sector. Last year, energy was the best performing sector. In the first half of this year, it was the worst performing.

Other sectors like consumer discretionary stocks that had been among the worst sectors last year are among the best this year. Defensive sectors including health care and utilities that delivered stellar returns last year have been dogs this year. In fact, the utility sector has displaced energy as this year’s worst performing S&P 500 sector.

The last few years have also illustrated a tendency for downtrodden stock sectors to rise from the canvas and become among the market’s best performers. Many utility stocks are currently near multi-year lows. But not because of the operational performance of the companies, which has largely remained solid. It’s mostly because of high interest rates, which may be peaking, and the mood of investors so far this year, which always changes.

Utilities are dirt cheap in an expensive market. They are also stellar relative performers in a slowing economy. But they are likely to rise from the current dark depths even if the economy remains buoyant. In this issue, I highlight one of the best performing utility stocks over the past 10 years that is currently selling near a multi-year low in a changing market.

Buying great stocks cheap is never a bad strategy over time.

I also highlight a fantastic covered call opportunity in a stock that has been on fire over the past couple of months. It’s a great chance to keep the income rolling in.
The population is aging. And it’s aging at warp speed. People 50 years of age and older now comprise a third of the U.S. population. The fastest growing segment of the population is 65 and older as an average of 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every single day. And it’s not just this country – aging is a global phenomenon.

We don’t know how sticky inflation will be or what the Fed will do. We don’t know if there will be a recession this year or next year or what the recovery will look like, or who will be the next president. But we do know that the population is shifting and companies on the receiving end of the torrent of dollars that will flow as a result should benefit mightily.

In this issue, I highlight another new stock to buy. This stock is cheap with strong momentum and properties that should help it perform well in any kind of market. It’s a healthcare stock ahead of a huge megatrend, the aging population.

Investing with the tailwind of a megatrend makes it so much easier to make a successful investment. It makes mediocre stocks great and good stocks one of your best investments ever.
Few stocks have participated in the YTD rally. In fact, just ten large-cap technology stocks accounted for just about all the market gains this year. The market has so far shunned defense and favored growth. But that situation is unlikely to persist.

There is still lots of risk. Inflation could be stickier, and the Fed could be more hawkish than currently anticipated. Even if a recession never happens, it’s reasonable to expect that the economy will slow in the second half of the year. And overall market earnings have already contracted for the last two quarters.

The relative performance of defensive stocks historically thrives in a slowing economy. If the rally broadens in such an environment, it will need participation from the defensive sectors. If the market pulls back, defense should be the best place to be.

I highlight a new buy-recommended stock in the issue. It is a legendary income stock that pays dividends on a monthly basis. It’s also near the lowest price level of the past two years.
Updates
It’s a new high! April was down. May was up. And June has been an up month so far. Hopefully, June will follow through and be another good month, but I’m still expecting a flatter market for a while.

The market goes back and forth with the interest rate narrative. But I don’t expect a resolution on that issue any time soon, or at least for the rest of the summer. Either the economy has to slow, or the Fed is going to at least leave rates where they are. But investors still insist on expecting rate cuts before the end of the year even though the economy looks strong.
The market has leveled off since the middle of May. I expect more of the same going forward.

The S&P 500 pulled back in early April after a five-month rally as sticky inflation soured the interest rate narrative. The index then recovered to new highs in the middle of May on an improved interest rate outlook. But stocks have since leveled off as the interest rate outlook got stuck in the mud.
The market dodged a bullet. And the rally forges on.

After a 5% dip from the high, stocks started climbing again in mid-April and have regained all the losses. Last week’s inflation report had the potential to derail the recent rally. But it didn’t. And the good times are continuing.
The market has regained its footing. After a 5% pullback in the earlier part of April, the S&P 500 has since regained nearly all that was lost, and the index is within bad breath distance of the high.

Earnings have been good. With 92% of S&P 500 companies having reported, earnings increased an average of 5.4% over last year’s quarter. But it’s better than that. If you take out the report of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), average earnings growth would be 8.3% for all the other stocks on the index. That’s a healthy gain.
The market has shown some renewed strength over the past several days, particularly among interest rate-sensitive stocks. The Fed met last week, and the market dug this month’s vague insinuations.

The rally sputtered in April after sticky inflation soured the falling interest rate narrative. But last week the Fed Chairman indicated that the next Fed Funds rate move would most likely be a cut and not a raise. Although a hike wasn’t expected, investors like hearing the Fed say it. The statement also combines with recent news of weaker economic growth and a slowing job market.
The market is in a tug-o-war between the bummer that rates are likely to stay higher for longer and excitement about the earnings season and artificial intelligence.

The launch of this earnings season has so far saved the market from a selloff that began at the beginning of April when the interest rate prognosis soured. Sticky inflation and a Fed that appeared to lose its resolve to cut rates this year spoiled a five-month rally. But earnings are reviving the market.
This market has been resilient. But that resilience is being severely tested. The next couple of weeks should tell us the near-term direction of stocks.

The S&P rallied higher for five straight months. That’s long in the tooth for any rally. The market is down so far in April and the story is changing for the worse.
It’s still a bull market and a rally. But the S&P has been in a sideways funk since the middle of last month.

April has not had news that the market seems to like. There has been stronger-than-expected economic news. The manufacturing numbers were the highest in about two years, and the Fed upgraded its 2024 GDP forecast from 1.4% to 2.4%. But sometimes good news is bad news.
The market looks great. The quarter ended last week with the S&P posting the strongest first-quarter start in five years. All three major market indexes have now risen for five straight months.

The Fed said it still intends to cut the Fed Funds rate three times this year at the March meeting. Meanwhile, inflation remains subdued, and the economy is surprisingly strong. Manufacturing data was much better than expected and the Fed raised its GDP forecast for 2024 from 1.4% to 2.4%.
It’s another big Fed week in a market that has rallied for more than four months.

The S&P 500 is up 7.28% in the first two and a half months of this year and has rallied over 25% since the low of late October. Stocks have been thriving amid the likely peak in interest rates, expected Fed rate cuts this year, a still-strong economy, and the artificial intelligence (AI) catalyst in the technology sector.

Earnings season is over, and the market’s main focus is on the February inflation numbers that come out this week.

Stocks were able to continue to build on last year’s late rally in January and February. Mixed Fed and interest rate news was overcome by strong earnings, particularly in technology. Signs that artificial intelligence is continuing to drive strong demand and sales lifted the sector and the market.
The good times keep rolling. The S&P 500 continues to make new highs and closed last week up 7.7% YTD. Nine of the 11 S&P sectors are well into positive territory for the year so far.

As usual, the index is being led higher by technology, which is by far the largest sector. Technology stocks are up over 12% YTD. While no other stock sectors are up as much as the overall market, most of them are delivering very respectable returns for the year so far. The only down sectors are Real Estate and Utilities. But even these beleaguered sectors are only down 1.4% and 3.25% respectively YTD.
Alerts
Sell USB November 19th $60 calls at $2.30 or better
Sell CVX April 1 $95.50 call at $4.30 or better
Sell BGS February 19 $27.50 call at $2.40 or better
The idea is to sell a covered call, meaning you already own or you just purchased V on the buy recommendation.
The first issue of Cabot Income Advisor just came out yesterday. The idea is to sell a covered call, meaning you already own or you just purchased IIPR on the buy recommendation.