Thursday, October 10, 2013

Better Buying Opportunities Coming for Dividend Investors

In 2005, I distinctly recall perusing the Barnes & Noble business section for a book on dividend investing, only to find just one book that specifically addressed the topic. (There are, um, quite a few more available today on

Things changed with the financial crisis, as we know. Interest rates plunged and dividend stocks rapidly became an attractive alternative for income-seeking investors. 

Indeed, the Google Trends chart for the search term “dividend stocks” illustrates the changes in sentiment from 2004 to present quite nicely:

Source: Google Trends

Naturally, the financial services industry responded to strong investor demand for dividends by launching dividend-themed ETFs, ETNs, and funds to attract assets. Some are more creative than others, but when there's a revenue-weighted dividend ETF (not kidding), you know folks are running out of ideas.

Fortunately, it seems we're past the "peak" for dividend valuations, investor interest appears to be turning elsewhere, and more long-term buying opportunities could thus present themselves.

"Non-dividend stocks have outperformed dividend stocks in the S&P 500 over a one year timeframe. Prior to this period, nonpayers had underperformed dividend stocks since late 2009."  - FactSet Dividend Quarterly, September 2013
Just this week, in fact, I started a position in Coca-Cola -- my first buy this year for the dividend sleeve of my portfolio -- and found it interesting that the stock was yielding over 3% for the first time since 2010. 

Though low interest rates may be around a little longer, the prospect of rising interest rates in the coming years should at least limit further multiple expansion for higher-yielding dividend stocks. In the event of a market pull-back and considering the robust dividend growth we've seen in the last three years, I would expect to see more quality 3% to 5% yields coming available. 

Stay focused and patient out there.



Good reads this week

Quote of the Week
"My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things -- trout as well as eternal salvation -- come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy." -- Norman Maclean, "A River Runs Through It