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Stock and Fund Dividends
When is a dividend not a dividend?
The latest thing "conservative" brokers are preaching these days is to buy stocks that pay dividends. Everyone likes dividends. I know I do, but when Wall Street tells me something I am automatically suspicious because they lie to me every day. Is this a new scam? Let's take a look.
When you buy a bond or a CD at the bank it pays interest and is a real dividend. You might get a check every month, quarter or annually or receive a credit to your account. The amount of your principle (what you paid for it) remains the same. Yes, that is a true dividend.
Companies make big splashes about raising their dividend. It was 50 cents per share, but we have raised it to $1.00. Big deal. Yes, you will receive a check and at least you know the company has cash available to pay you. That is an indication the company is in good financial condition, but there have been many of the big names on the NYSE that have continued dividends even when they have lost money. How can that be?
Currently Microsoft has announced a dividend of $3.00 per share. The talking heads on CNBC-TV tell us they are loaded with cash and want to distribute it to their stockholders. Many people buy the stock in anticipation of the dividend as they think they will be getting an extra $3.00 per share. They are in for a big surprise.
The day that dividend is paid Microsoft stock (symbol MSFT) will automatically drop $3.00 per share. Today $27.00; tomorrow $24.00. Folks, this is NOT a dividend. This is a distribution of capital. You are being paid in your own asset. The fool that believes the Wall Street mumbo-jumbo will not have one extra penny after the dividend than he did before. In fact he will have less. Why?
The stockholder will now be allowed to pay income tax on the "dividend" distribution. To make that "dividend" seem even better the Bush administration has reduced dividend taxes from 38.6% to 15%. Thanks, Mr. Bush. Thanks for nothing. I can't blame him for more Maul Street smoke and mirrors. He has just made it cost less to get back your own money.
Companies seldom pay large dividends and they are paid quarterly. A $30 stock that pays a 4% dividend ($1.20) on a quarterly basis shows a decrease in the stock price that day of 30 cents per share and is lost in the noise of trading. Few notice that part of the price change is due to the "dividend".
When you own the stock of any company the most important criteria is to find one that is in a long term upward trend. Never buy a stock that is showing a decline no matter how "good" the company may be. Even sideways movements should be avoided. Keep in mind you are buying the stock to make money. Forget the dividends and all other "reasons" and remember if it isn't going up, don't buy it!
F*R*E*E investment letter. http://www.mutualfundmagic.com Copyright 2004 Albert W. Thomas All rights reserved. Author of "If It Doesn't Go Up, Don't Buy It!" Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Former 17-year exchange member, floor trader and brokerage company owner.
10 Tips For Creating Wealth From the Stock Market
1. Do not spread your money too thin.
Kick The Tires
Before you buy another car you walk around the lot, kick the tires, slam the doors and look at the mileage indicator. That's an odometer. I know. That is about all the "research" you can do other than what the car salesman tells you and I hope you know better than to believe him.
Let's hope you did not have any of the Enron stock. Maybe you know someone who did and lost everything, but you certainly might know several people who owned stock that lost almost everything. They probably aren't talking about it.
Why Technical Indicators
The fight continues to rage among traders who use technical indicators and those who prefer fundamental information to establish new positions and to exit current positions.
Living Trust Investing: Income Considerations when the Grantor Dies
A common problem I often see when working with living trust beneficiaries and trustees is the lack of attention in rethinking income strategies in the event of the grantor's death.
I continually hear from economists, talking heads, other market letter writers, analysts and assorted "experts" that I need to know all kinds of "stuff" about the stocks and mutual funds I am going to buy and I should keep up with them on a regular basis.
Some Good News for A Change
Before we get into all the good news out there, let us first take a look at what the term "news" really means. By definition, the term "news" means the exception to the norm. If it is expected to happen then it is not news. If it differs from the norm, then it is news.
Wall Street Paradigm
In 1960 an engineer working for a watch company in Switzerland discovered that a small crystal would vibrate at a constant rate. He found this was so accurate that it could be used to calibrate time so he took it to company management and said it would make an entirely new kind of watch that had no springs and no gears. They could not imagine who would want such a thing. Swiss watches dominated world commerce. They did not even bother to patent it.
Trading For A Living - Part 1
There can't be many traders who haven't at least considered the idea of telling the boss what they think of him, throwing it all in and going off to trade the stock market for a living. It's a big risk financially, and that uncertainty is what stops most from jumping ship. Is it really possible to trade for a living?
Why Change Funds?
On November 17 I bought 7 different mutual funds and went to a 100% invested position. One of the funds I bought was Robertson Stevens Information Age (RSIFX) and it has made money as have the other six.
The 10 Commandments
Wall Street has been preaching for years and years to investors how and where to put their money. The "experts" have put forth these ideas for so long that they seem to be carved in stone just like Moses did with God's 10 Commandments. The only difference is that what Wall Street preaches is lies that will make you broke.
Buy and Hold: How to Perpetuate Your Investment Losses
A recent cartoon in my daily newspaper showed two guys sitting in a bar. One is saying to the other: "I did learn something from my broker...how to diversify my investment losses."
Dont Buy Stocks based on P/E Ratio alone
I use the P/E ratio as a secondary indicator for buying and selling stocks but I don't use the ratio in the same a manner as many value investors teach. I will explain the difference in my methodology for using the P/E ratio to your advantage.
Cash Is A Position
I go to the Money Show every year to visit with friends who have booths and are speakers. Then when folks are filing out of lectures I listen to their comments on what I know the speaker has been saying.
Pamplona, the Wild Investment Bulls
You remember (they show it on TV every year) the running of the wild bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Some of the nuttier people get out their capes and stand in their path as they come roaring down the street.
A Common Misconception about Stock Prices
I cringe every time I hear a novice investor tell me that they only purchase low priced stocks because they offer higher potential gains. A common phase I hear is "I like to buy $1 and $2 stocks because they can double easily and I will make a 100% profit".
Top 25 Growth Funds
On Monday, November 25, 2000 Investor's Business Daily listed on page B1 the Top 25 Growth Mutual Funds for the last 36 months along with their performance for the year 2000 to date. Only four showed a profit this year of 21% and the other three had increases of 12%, 5%, and 5%. Fifteen had loss of from 10% to 28% and the other 6 were down slightly.
Selling Strategies - Setting a Stop Loss
Sometimes the best way of lowering exposure to risk is not to invest at all! However, when we make the decision to jump into the muddy waters of the stock market, its always a good idea to have a life jacket ready, just in case.
Again With the Bubbles?
A few years back ? it seems like an eternity today ? the U.S. stock market experienced a severe bubble burst. Legitimate stocks rose beyond reasonable valuations and ideas merely in the germination stage sold for prices far beyond those of real proven companies. When the bubble burst, billions of dollars of shareholder value evaporated. One would have thought we'd learned our lesson.
Trading vs Investing
I often hear from people, "I don't trade. I invest. I buy a mutual fund and I hold it". Mr. Investor, did you know you are trading on a regular basis? Are you aware that mutual fund managers are changing their positions by selling certain stocks and buying others?
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