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Income Advisor
Conservative investing. Double-digit income.
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.
Stocks have exceeded expectations so far this year. The S&P has rallied 20% from the October bottom and is up over 9% YTD. But there is a plethora of issues in the way of a further rally.

Even if we get past this debt ceiling issue without consequence, there’s inflation and the Fed. There’s also an increasing possibility of a recession later this year or early next year. The market rarely performs well ahead of a recession. A bear market rally should be about out of gas. And it’s difficult to see how stocks can soar into the next bull market until there is more clarity on these issues.

It still makes sense at this point to only buy the defensive stocks that are below the targeted price as well as sell covered calls for income when a stock gets near the top of the recent range.

In this issue, I highlight a covered call in a solid defensive stock that has recently rallied near the high point of the recent range. It’s a terrific way to get a high level of current income at a time when the market isn’t giving much else.
In the middle of an earnings recession and a slowing economy, defensive stocks are probably the best places to be. These companies can maintain earnings growth while most companies are sliding and remain consistent even as the economy deteriorates further.

Defense is king right now. But defensive stocks are even better when they offer growth as well. In such uncertain times, it makes sense to bank on things that are more certain. Stocks poised in front of a megatrend are the best bet. A megatrend acts as a powerful tailwind for a stock that can make a mediocre pick very good and a good pick great.

In this issue, I highlight a defensive stock that is also one of the world’s largest producers of alternative energy. At the same time, it is also one of the best traditional regulated utilities in the country. It offers defense as well as growth and can thrive in any kind of market.
The banking situation has changed the Fed. The damage done by previous rate hikes is making the Central Bank far less hawkish. The risk is shifting from the Inflation/Fed cycle to recession. The end of this cycle may have been expedited. And stocks could rally out of this bear market sooner than thought.

Of course, the banking issues might not be over yet. And the timing and severity of a possible recession is still unknown. Things may get worse in the market before they get better. For now, defensive stocks that can maintain earnings growth in a worsening economy or recession are better places to be.
Stocks have rallied so far this year on optimism that we can get through this inflation and Fed rate hiking cycle without much economic pain. That’s what seems to be happening so far. But this latest “soft landing” rally is facing a formidable foe – history.

Rate hikes almost always slow the economy. But there is typically a long lag time. Since 1961, the Fed has embarked on nine inflation-busting, rate-hiking cycles. Eight of those cycles have led to recession. The yield curve has inverted, a phenomenon that has almost always preceded a recession.
This year was always going to be better than last year. And it’s off to a great start. But it is unlikely that stocks muster a sustained rally out of this bear market until there is more clarity on the extent and timing of an economic bottom.

That said, the current market still offers opportunities. Cyclical stocks have rallied and, for the first time in a long time, there is an opportunity to sell a covered call on one of the portfolio’s cyclical stocks. In this issue, I highlight a covered call opportunity in Visa (V) after the stock has rallied.

I also highlight a fantastic income stock that has likely already made its own low even if the market turns south again. It sells at a dirt-cheap valuation with a high and safe dividend and has recently added momentum to the mix.
Stocks trend higher over time. And history clearly illustrates that bear markets are ideal times to invest ahead of the next bull market. The average bear market is about 15 months long. And this one is already almost a year old. There is a high-percentage chance that a rally ignites in 2023 that will lead us out of this bear market and into the next bull market.
The recent rally has lifted call premiums to the highest levels in many months as more investors are willing to bet on higher prices going forward. But unless this current rally leads us to the next bull market, it’s probably nearly over. It’s a great time to lock in a high income while premiums are fat, and stocks may be close to a near-term high.

The current market is creating a golden opportunity to get a high income in an otherwise crummy market. Let’s grab it. In this issue, I highlight two call-writing opportunities in stocks that have rallied strongly since being added to the portfolio. While I like the prospects of these stocks over the next year, it’s time to err on the side of income.
The market has likely not bottomed yet. The current rally will unlikely be sufficient to drive us out of this bear market ahead of continued high inflation and likely recession in the months ahead.

However, while the market indexes may have further downside, one area of the market may well have already bottomed, namely interest rate-sensitive stocks.

Previously buoyant defensive stocks got clobbered as interest rates spiked to the highest levels in 15 years. But the evidence is overwhelming that the economy is likely headed toward recession in the months ahead. Recessions put downward pressure on interest rates. As the economy worsens and inflation declines, rates are likely to move lower, negating most of the damage done to conservative dividend payers.

There are powerful reasons to believe that interest rate-sensitive stocks may have already bottomed. In this issue, I highlight one of the very best utilities on the market. It’s near the 52-week low after an overdone selloff and should be highly resilient in a recession.
Even the temporarily averted government shutdown can’t do much for this market. The S&P 500 is now down more than 7% from the 52-week high and may be headed to correction territory, down 10% or more.

The main problem is high interest rates. The benchmark ten-year Treasury rate continues to rise and just hit a new 16-year high near 4.7%. The Fed’s recent statement that interest rates will remain higher for longer continues to demoralize investors.
The market is always uncertain. No one ever really knows in which direction the next 5% or 10% move will be. But this is a much higher level of uncertainty than usual.

The good year so far has been a surprise. Most pundits were forecasting more gloom and doom at the beginning of the year. But the S&P 500 is up 15% YTD. It rallied on the promise of a soft landing and then got a further boost as artificial intelligence spending promises to be a strong growth catalyst for the market’s largest sector for years to come. After sputtering for the last six weeks, where does it go from here?
The market is starting this week higher on optimism about a “soft landing.” But the CPI inflation number for August that comes out on Wednesday could derail or support the rally.

Things seem upbeat Monday morning. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday that she is “feeling very good” about avoiding a recession while still reining in prices. Of course, she called inflation “transitory” in early 2021. There were also some encouraging numbers about the Chinese economy. Also, the Fed is widely expected not to raise the Fed Funds rate later this month.
Summer is over. The post Labor Day market begins this week. What can we expect?

The market has been nearly impossible to predict over the past several years. There was the pandemic crash, the recovery that began shortly after the lockdowns began, the 2022 bear market, and the surprising return to a bull market this year.
The market tends to be lackluster in the late summer. But that goes double for the last week of the summer.

Unless there is a riveting headline, the overall market is likely in a holding pattern until the rubber hits the road next week after Labor Day. Sobered up investors back from vacation will take a fresh look at things after they wrap up the summer and come back from vacation. What will they see?
Earnings season is about over. And the end of the summer is upon us.

This is a weird time of year for the market. Investors tend to pay less attention because many of them are focused on trying to squeeze in the last bit of summer fun and laxness before it slips away. The market tends to do whatever it was doing before people stopped paying attention.

It was going sideways, and that is what it will likely continue to do for the next several weeks. Of course, a major headline could certainly change that. But most often these waning days of summer tend to be less eventful.
Stocks are starting the week back in business after last week’s dip over the credit downgrade. The credit downgrade doesn’t appear to be having much effect on the market at this point. Unless that changes, the market appears poised to continue to forge higher, at least for the time being.

Meanwhile, it’s still earnings season and the past couple of weeks have been busy for the portfolio. Earnings had been very kind to the portfolio two weeks ago with Digital Realty (DLR), AbbVie (ABBV), and Intel (INTC) all getting sizable boosts with better-than-expected results. But the season soured on the portfolio last week as both Qualcomm (QCOM) and Star Bulk Carriers (SBLK) laid eggs.
The good times are here again. The S&P 500 is up over 19% YTD and is now within just 4% of the all-time high. Stocks are in a strong uptrend that began in the beginning of May and appear likely to move still higher.

Inflation is crashing. The Fed is about out of bullets. And there is no recession in sight. Things could always discombobulate down the road. But there doesn’t appear at this point to be anything ahead in the next month or so that will change the current positive narrative.
These are confusing times in the market. It looks like a soft landing for the economy is more likely. But that’s no guarantee. We could still have a recession next year. The bull market could rage on or pull back. Instead of betting on the economic cycle, it’s a time to focus on individual stocks.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) exploded onto the market scene in a huge way in May when semiconductor company Nvidia (NVDA) blew away earnings expectations citing much higher demand for AI chips than anyone expected. It added another leg to the bull market as AI-related stocks soared.
It’s anybody’s guess what the second half will have in store for the market. The first half surprised almost everyone with a stellar 16% gain in the S&P.

Investors are sensing a soft-landing, whereby we get past this Fed rate hiking cycle without a recession and minimal economic pain. Recent economic numbers reflect a greater likelihood of that scenario.

Anything is possible. The market could be off to the races, or it could sober up and pull back. Inflation is falling while the Fed is still making hawkish noises. It’s reasonable to assume that even if the economy isn’t slowing down yet, the Fed will continue to raise rates until it does.
It has been a fabulous rally that has proven naysayers wrong. The S&P 500 is up about 15% YTD just before the midpoint. Stocks have also rallied more than 20% from the October low into a new bull market.

How much gas is left in the tank?

Inflation is falling and the Fed is almost done hiking rates. It is also looking less likely that there will be a recession this year. Investors are optimistic that we can get to the other side of this hiking cycle without too much pain.
It has been a fabulous rally that has proven naysayers wrong. The S&P 500 is up about 15% YTD just before the midpoint. Stocks have also rallied more than 20% from the October low into a new bull market.

How much gas is left in the tank?

Inflation is falling and the Fed is almost done hiking rates. It is also looking less likely that there will be a recession this year. Investors are optimistic that we can get to the other side of this hiking cycle without too much pain.
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.