Tag Archives: stocks

Due Diligence

Whenever you come across a company that you’re interested in investing into it is best to make sure that you do your due diligence before you invest. The reason you want to do this is to:

  1. Minimize the risk of losing your investment. All investments have an element of risk associated with them. But a smart investor wants to minimize that risk.
  2. Know something other than the company’s name and stock price. How is the company doing? Is it a good investment? This last point is based on your pwn investment criteria.

In order to do either of the above you need to access the company’s fundamental information. From there you need to be able to calculate certain benchmark data. There are many benchmark calculations that are suggested but in this post I will highlight the ones from the Income Statement. I may not look at all of these but these are the most common ones investors suggest.

  1. Net Revenue (Revenue – COGS)
  2. Gross Profit Margin (Gross Profit – Operating Expenses)
  3. Operating Margin (Operating Income /Revenue)
  4. Post-Tax Income (Pre-Tax Income – Income Tax)
  5. Net Income Margin (Net Income/Revenue)

I may not check each and everyone but I am interested in a company’s Gross Profit and their Net Revenue. This tells me how well the company is doing in its market niche and how well they are managing/controlling their operations. The benchmark for these is up to each individual investor to establish. I usually don’t calculate these for single companies but as a comparison between multiple companies.

I have limited funds available to invest so that if the other criteria benchmarks are relatively close with each other I use these benchmark data to narrow down my selections. The reason that I use benchmarks, even though I am a dividend investor and growth in stock price is secondary, because I want to make sure that the company will be around for the long-term. I’m not looking to invest for the stock price to jump up within a relatively short time. I’m looking to capture a passive income for the long-term. Once I buy a company stock I’m reluctant to sell unless the company cuts their dividend payout 2 times.

Here are some other calculations you can use to narrow down your selections:

Importance Of Stock Price To A Dividend Investor

How important is the stock price to a dividend investor. Speaking only for myself, stock price is a little less important than the dividend payout and the number of shares owned. As long as the stock price remains within the 52 week price range, all is well for me. If it set a new low, I will definitely take another look at the company to determine if I want to remain invested with it. To me the share price is an opportunity for me to buy additional shares so that I can get more dividends.

You find a lot of stock investor stressed out because of the activity with the stock market, specifically when the market has a downturn or pullback in the prices. That’s because that is all they are banking on, the overall value of the total stock. I don’t sweat it when my stocks take a decrease in price. I look at it as an opportunity to purchase more stocks at a price less than what I originally paid. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that stock price is important but not the #1 factor. It’s in the Top 5. You could end up with a stock like Just Energy Group ($JE) that had a 1 day drop in price of 95% back in Sept-Oct.

That’s too much of a risk for me. I can’t eliminate all risk but I tend to prefer mitigating it as much as a I can.

Accumulating cash

I’ve been very quiet on my blog so far because there’s nothing happening for me in the investing world. I’m holding my current positions and I have recently received dividend payments on some of my stocks. Those payments I’ve taken and re-invested into the same stocks. At this point I am waiting for the rumored stock market crash so that I can pick up some bargains and to increase my positions on the stocks that I currently own.

In the meantime, as my funds for investments come in I’m just accumulating them into my investment cash account. My focus is to acquire additional dividend stocks, primarily, and to increase my current positions when the opportunity presents itself. This is my sub-strategy for the next 8-12 months. Then I plan on changing gears to focus more on increasing my current positions, primarily, and then to acquire additional dividend stocks when the opportunity presents itself.

But so far all I have been accumulating has been investment funds. I’m looking to find stocks or ETFs that pay dividends on a monthly basis. All of my other criteria still are in place whenever I research where I should invest.

Not All Dividend Stocks Are Created Equal

As a dividend investor, dividends are the key factor in deciding if I want to invest in a company or not. As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts there are other additional factors that go into my decision making process to invest or not to invest. But in this post I want to focus on the aspect of dividends. Many investors are growth investors. They buy the stocks of a company for the purpose of selling for a profit within a specific period of time. Others, like myself, invest for the long term to capitalize from a company’s increase in revenues and thus profits, which then translate into dividends. But again, not all dividend stocks are created equal. Some companies pay very low dividend payouts while others pay a substantially higher amount.

One of the key things I look at is the dividend payout relative to the company’s stock price. This is referred to as the Dividend Yield. This is the amount of dividend you will receive for every dollar you have invested. Some are very low, such as Dollar General ($DG), where the yield is 0.67%. Their last dividend payout was $1.44/share. To get that $1.44 you’d have to spend about $218 to buy 1 share.

Then you have McDonalds who just increased their dividends. Even with the last payout being $5/share, this is still only a little over 2% in dividend yield. You’d have to spend about $224 to buy 1 share of stock. That one share would then pay you the $5 in dividends.

There are many similarities between growth stocks and dividend stocks when it comes to deciding if the company is worth investing in or not. But with dividend stocks you’re looking for a continuous income coming in. The growth stock investor is also looking for income but they have to sell all or a portion of their holdings to generate the income. This means that they have to constantly be on the lookout for their next “Deal”. They have to replace the stocks that they sold.

This is the reason that I prefer dividend investing. Once I have researched a company and I have decided that it is worth investing in, all I have to do is hold my investment and collect the dividend payments. As long as there are no drastic or catastrophic changes to the company, there is no reason to sell the stock. Once you decide to buy the stock the only things left to do is 1) collect the dividends and 2) decide when to buy more stocks in the company. This last part is for another post in the future dealing with buy on the DIP (drop in price). After buying the stock and the dividend yield drops, you may want to just hold onto the stock shares you have. If the yield increases that may be a good time to increase the positions you hold. Again, other factors come into play here.

But back to the original premise of the initial dividend yield and how it is a factor in deciding to buy. As I stated before the dividend yield is the key factor for me. I want to get the maximum dividends for the least cost (i.e. stock price). The only time that share price is important is when I am looking to buy more shares. I’m not looking to sell my shares any time soon. As long as the stock price stays fairly stable, I am happy. As long as the dividend keep growing, I’m happy. As long as the company doesn’t reduce the dividend payout 2 periods in a row, I’ll hold on to them shares. My whole focus is to own the maximum number of shares for the least amount of money.

What is my investment strategy?

In discussing investments with others I am asked what is my investment strategy? I am going to try to outline my strategy here but you must remember that the strategy is a bit broad and in special cases I will make exceptions to certain criteria.

I only invest in:
1. Long standing, existing businesses. I tend to avoid emerging/startup companies and IPO’s.
2. Companies that pay dividends. This is the rule that is pretty much set in stone. No dividend then no investment from me.
3. Companies that have a dividend yield of between 2.5 to 5%.
4. Companies that have at least a 5 year history of dividend payouts.
5. Companies that show a positive dividend growth.
6. Companies that are rated at Average or below in risk and Average and above in returns.
7. Companies whose stock price allows me to maximize the quantity of share that I own.

The above points are all relative. Such as the dividend yield. If a company is paying out a dividend of $6/share and it’s stock price is $200, this gives me a yield of 3%. This passes my criteria.for dividend yields but does not pass my ability to maximize the number of shares that I own because I am limited by my investment budget. If I have only $200 to invest each month, buying the one stock for $200 only gets me that 1 share. But if I can buy another stock that sells for $50/share and pays 3% dividend yield I can get 4 shares. The dividends I can get will be the same for both at $6 but when I re-invest the $6 I can only get 0.03 shares of the $200/share stock but 0.12 shares of the $50/share stock. I try to maximize shares owned and maximize dividends earned.

I am focusing on the growth of my stock investments based on share growth in addition to any increase in stock price value. Share growth is more critical to me than share price growth. I will increase my position with a specific stock if the share price drops or increases no more than 10%. If the share price increases more than 10% I will just hold and wait for the next DRIP.

I’ll be detailing my different strategy points in later postings.

What’s the Story With Snowflake?

So, yesterday was the first day for the IPO for Snowflake Inc. ($SNOW). I always wanted to try to get in on the ground floor for companies that go public. I figure that they start out small and as they prove their ability to perform and generate revenue their stock price tends to go up. When I heard about Snowflake Inc going public I started following in hope of being able to get in on the ground floor.

The first time I heard about the tentative stock price was when they were talking about it being around $23/share. Seems reasonable. I could afford that. That wasn’t an overly large amount of money and I could come up with a few dollars to buy some shares to try my hand at investing in a company just starting out trading shares. I couldn’t screw up too badly at $23/share.

But the day before the IPO and the day of the share price was scheduled to open at $120/share! What happened? Then when the market opened and I checked how it was doing I found that the stock price had climbed to over $230/share. What?!?!? What did I miss? I can’t understand how the price could have jumped that high. What was the new price based on? Were that many people buying the stock? I read all of the reports and articles about the company but I wasn’t able to determine which factor was the key to driving the price.

So, how does it work? The share prices are based on the company fundamentals up to a certain point and then it becomes like a religious thing and faith takes over? Or is it one of those deals where the big players get in on it early, wait for the share price to peak and then when it starts dropping in price start selling off their shares to insure profits? Is it all big money investors or are there any small investors? If so, are they able to keep up with the trade activity in order to not lose everything?

I’m still new at this investing game so I try to learn whateveer I can so I can better understand the way things work.