Eight weeks ago, I wrote an Investment U column pounding the table for dividend stocks. Since then, they’ve ratcheted higher, but I still see plenty of upside ahead.
Someone who shares my enthusiasm for high-yield stocks right now is my friend and former colleague Rick Pfeifer, Senior Portfolio Manager at Fund Advisors of America, a Florida-based money management firm.
On a recent trip to the Sunshine State, I stopped into his office to hear why he, too, feels this is one of the best places to put your money to work today.
Q: Rick, there’s an awful lot of fear and anxiety about the economy and the stock market right now. Investors are confused and uncertain about what to do with their money. What is your take on things?
A: In a market as volatile as this, you have to spread your bets. But my take is this: If you’re looking for growth, buy dividend-paying stocks.
If you’re looking for income, buy dividend-paying stocks. If you’re looking for safety, buy dividend-paying stocks.
A: The first question every investor has to ask himself is, “How should I divide my money among stocks, bonds and cash?”
The average money market fund currently pays two one-hundredths of 1%. At that rate, you will double your money in just 3,600 years.
Q: Not terribly attractive.
A: Definitely not.
And Treasury yields won’t make you jump up and click your heels, either. The 10-year guy is yielding two%, which translates — at best — to a 0% yield after inflation.
Q: Tough to meet your investment goals that way.
In my view, dividend stocks are a good place to be right now for several reasons. Let’s talk about safety first. When the Dow traded at these levels 11-and-a-half years ago, it sold for 47 times earnings. Today it trades at less than 14 times earnings. Stocks are cheap right now on the basis of sales and earnings.
But even during market declines, dividend-paying stocks hold up better than non-dividend-paying stocks and sometimes fight the broad trend and rise in value. The reason is obvious. These tend to be mature, profitable companies with stable outlooks, plenty of cash and long-term staying power.
Q: U.S. companies are sitting on a record amount of cash now, too, right?
U.S. companies currently hold more than $2 trillion in cash, a record. Thanks to this economy and the current Administration (don’t get me started), companies aren’t hiring and they’re not boosting spending. So a lot of this cash is rightfully going back to shareholders.