JT’s DAILY (WEEKLY as of 12/9/2013) BLOG for Month Of September 2019
Note: All previous month's posts are available in the archives, as noted above.
All postings for the month are available here, sorted in descending order - i.e. most recent at the top.
1st Posting for Week Beginning Monday 09/30/2019
Posted Sunday 09/29/2019 11:00 AM
Stocks ended the week with a net decline on all the major averages, with a bit more volatility than the prior week. The latest Democrat impeachment outrage contributed to the sense of unease of investors, but not unduly so. It seems we have almost become inured to the continuing saga of our failing political system, where meaningful progress on our festering problems has become impossible, as all energies in Washington are expended on the all-out war between the two major political parties, and compromise has become synonymous with betrayal.
I can’t think of a better investment strategy than investing for income in times like these, as my dividend payers continue paying out, regardless of the gridlock in Washington. That said, the ex-dividend lineup is minimal next week, as follows:
Ventas (VTR), ex-dividend date 9/30/2019, yield 4.30%.
Realty Income (O), ex-dividend date 9/30/2019, yield 3.52%. O pays monthly.
Kimco Realty (KIM), ex-dividend date 10/01/2019, yield 5.39%.
Cisco Systems (CSCO), ex-dividend date 10/03/2019, yield 2.87%.
Universal (UVV), ex-dividend date 10/04/2019, yield 5.54%.
Two of the fifteen CEFs I follow will be going ex-dividend next week, both are monthly payers:
First Trust Intermediate Duration Preferred & Income Fund (FPF), ex-dividend date 10/01/2019, yield 6.77%.
AllianceBernstein Global High Income Fund (AWF), ex-dividend date 10/03/2019, yield 6.78%.
Three of my stocks will be reporting earnings next week, as follows:
Paychex (PAYX), on 10/02/2019.
RPM International (RPM), also on 10/02/2019.
Pepsico (PEP), 10/03/2019.
Rounding out my recap, following are upgrades / downgrades and so on regarding my stocks over the past week, as posted by E*Trade. Again, there was less activity than usual last week, as there wasn’t much happening in the economy and the markets.
Sanofi (SNY) was upgraded from Equal Weight to Overweight at Morgan Stanley. Perhaps Morgan Stanley believes a French drug company will be immune from the pressures on drug pricing, or that the gridlock in Washington will stymie any actions affecting SNY.
Kimberly Clark (KMB) was upgraded from Equal Weight to OverWeight at Barclays.
Sanofi (SNY) was upgraded from Neutral to Buy at Guggenheim.
Noble Corp PLC (NE) was downgraded from Neutral to Sell at Citigroup. I gave up on NE and the rest of the offshore drillers a year or more ago, even if they survive, they are unlikely to ever regain the stature that they had prior to the oil price crash of 2016.
Main Street Capital (MAIN) was initiated at Neutral at National Securities. MAIN may be the “blue chip” BDC, but keep in mind, no BDC is really a “blue chip”. Heck, these days, I wonder if any stock is truly a “blue chip”.
Blackstone Group (BX) was reiterated at Buy at Bank of America, and initiated at OutPerform at Oppenheimer.
Park Hotels Resorts (PK) was initiated at UnderWeight at JP Morgan.
Nestle S A (NSRGY) was downgraded from Sector Perform to UnderPerform at RBC Capital Markets.
Noble Corp PLC (NE) was downgraded from Outperform to Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets.
Transocean (RIG) was also downgraded from Outperform to Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets. See comment above on NE, the same applies to RIG.
Enerplus (ERF) was upgraded from Equal Weight to OverWeight at Capital One. This once-stalwart dividend-paying Canadian Trust has been consigned to my Tier4 list, along with the offshore drillers, as I don’t see the Canadian oil producers ever returning to the glory days prior to the elimination of the favorable tax treatment they enjoyed before the Canadian government tax changes of 2006.
Park Hotels Resorts (PK) was initiated at OverWeight at Barclays.
The only action I took this past week was adding to my position in Energy Transfer LP (ET), as it declined to my lo-ball price of $13.25, and then declined a little more, closing Friday at $13.10. ET will be going ex-dividend sometime during the next two weeks, and based on the latest price, yields over 9%. My holding is now maxed out, my rules won’t let me buy more, no matter how low it goes. But from everything I have seen regarding ET, I believe it represents a rare bargain at today’s price. The next few acts of the circus in Washington may yield some more buy opportunities in the weeks ahead, as the political climate continues to worsen, and the market becomes spooked more than we have seen so far.
1st Posting for Week Beginning Monday 09/23/2019
Posted Sunday 09/22/2019 09:00 AM
Stocks posted a modest decline for the week, per the major stock averages I track, but the weekly result could have gone either way until Friday, which confirmed that the weekly result would be a decline. Another way of expressing this would be to say, correctly, that volatility has declined sharply from what we have seen in recent weeks, and the decline for the week just ended was modest, compared to recent experience.
Compared to last week’s modest tally, I will be reporting that an increasing number of stocks I track will be going ex-dividend next week. The stocks are listed below. Ex-dividend date and current yield are shown, based on Friday’s closing price. Assume frequency is the standard, quarterly, unless otherwise indicated.
Eni S p A (E), 9/23/2019, 4.30%. The Italian oil major pays semi-annually, this is the second payment for 2019. Note that the yield is before 28% withholding and fees that are assessed on U.S. holders.
Phillip Morris (PM), 9/24/2019, 6.53%.
Total S A (TOT), 9/25/2019, 5.51%. Similar to E, US holders of TOT will see a 30% haircut on dividends actually received, compliments of France, which will make the effective yield considerably less than the 5.51% touted.
Covanta Holdings (CVA), 9/26/2019, 5.70%.
Chimera Investment (CIM), 9/26/2019, 10.06%.
Pattern Energy Group (PEGI), 9/26/2019, 6.16%.
Nucor (NUE), 9/26/2019, 3.03%.
AGNC Investment (AGNC), 9/27/2019, 11.93%. AGNC is a monthly payer.
Enerplus (ERF), 9/27/2019, 1.13%. ERF is also a monthly payer, but with a monthly dividend of 1 cent CAN, it isn’t paying much, particularly for US holders, after the currency conversion.
STAG Industrial (STAG), 9/27/2019, 4.76%. STAG is a monthly payer.
Spirit Realty Capital (SRC), 9/27/2019, 5.25%.
Park Hotels Resorts (PK), 9/27/2019, 6.94%.
Prospect Capital (PSEC), 9/27/2019, 6.94%. PSEC is another monthly payer.
Annaly Capital Management (NLY), 9/27/2019, 11.33%.
MFA Financial (MFA), 9/27/2019, 10.72%.
B&G Foods (BGS), 9/27/2019,10.01%. BGS is trading at 5 year lows, and represents a high-risk, high reward opportunity, unless you think the firm is heading to oblivion.
Realty Income (O), 9/30/2019, 3.60%. O is a monthly payer. When the yield on O goes below 4%, you know it is trading at full value. An example of a great company, but if purchased at today’s price, more than likely a mediocre investment.
Ventas (VTR) should be announcing the next dividend very soon, the last ex-dividend date was 6/28/2019. Assuming no change, VTR would yield 4.39% as of Friday’s close.
Only one of the fifteen CEFs I track will be going ex-dividend nest week, Miller Howard High Income Equity Fund (HIE), on 9/23/2019, yielding 12.48%. HIE pays monthly.
None of my stocks will be reporting earnings in the week ahead.
Rounding out my recap, following are upgrades / downgrades and so on regarding my stocks over the past week, as posted by E*Trade. There was less activity than usual last week.
Apollo Investment (AINV) was downgraded from Buy to Neutral at Compass Point.
Diebold Nixdorf (DBD) was initiated at Buy at Sidoti. DBD was briefly on my Tier3 list, and with the suspension of the dividend in early 2018, has been on my Tier4 (no longer recommended) list since then.
Blackstone Group (BX) was downgraded from Buy to Neutral at Citigroup.
Digital Realty (DLR) was downgraded from OverWeight to Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley. DLR has been a very successful REIT in recent years, but certainly is trading at full value right now, as are so many other successful firms.
Sanofi (SNY) was upgraded from Equal Weight to OverWeight at Morgan Stanley.
The flight to quality caused by the recent volatility has resulted in the most successful firms being priced at full value and beyond, with once respectable yields at multiple-year lows, while firms that are in the condemned sectors, such as energy, retail and mall REITs, mortgage REITs, BDCs, and out-of-date food staples, are trading at multi-year lows, and sporting yields at multi-year highs. A believer in the Ben Graham value philosophy should be able to find a gem or two in these unloved groups, but it isn’t easy to summon up the nerve to pull the trigger in these cases. Of course, it never is easy to bet on the underdogs of the market, many of which richly deserve their underdog status. Two examples are Kraft Heinz (KHC) and General Electric (GE). One firm that I believe might be a gem is Energy Transfer LP (ET), which I own. I have an order in to acquire more, if it sinks down to my lo-ball bid price.
1st Posting for Week Beginning Monday 09/16/2019
Posted Sunday 09/15/2019 08:00 AM
Not only did all the major stock averages post a gain for the week just ended, they did it with minimal volatility. Effectively, the market has recovered all of the lost ground from the downturn and volatility that began early in August. Once again, to the consternation of the various doomsayers, the end of the world has been postponed.
Certainly, the steady flow of income from my dividend players has not ended. Stocks on my lists going ex-dividend in the next week are listed below. Ex-dividend date and current yield are shown, based on Friday’s closing price. Assume frequency is the standard, quarterly, unless otherwise indicated.
Gladstone Investment (GAIN), 9/16/2019, 6.61%. GAIN pays monthly.
PennantPark Investment (PNNT), 9/16/2019, 11.39%.
Greif (GEF), 9/16/2019, 4.56%.
Solar Capital Limited (SLRC), 9/18/2019, 7.86%.
Getty Realty (GTY), 9/18/2019, 4.29%.
Main Street Capital (MAIN), 9/18/2019, 5.70%. MAIN pays monthly.
Horizon Technology Finance (HRZN), 9/18/2019, 10.13%. HRZN also pays monthly.
Apollo Investment (AINV), 9/19/2019, 10.73%.
Eni S p A (E), 9/23/2019, 4.42%. The Italian oil major pays semi-annually, this is the second payment for 2019. Note that the yield is before 28% withholding and fees that are assessed on U.S. holders. But don’t fret, Italy really needs the money!
Several of the fifteen CEFs I follow will also be going ex-dividend this coming week. Distributions are either monthly or quarterly, as indicated.
Dividend and Income Fund (DNI), 9/16/2019, 6.67%. DNI pays quarterly. DNI is managed by Bexil Advisors LLC.
Eaton Vance Tax-Managed Diversified Equity Income Fund (ETY), 9/20/2019, 8.34%. ETY pays monthly.
Cohen & Steers MLP Income & Energy Opportunity Fund (MIE), 9/17/2019, 8.34%. MIE pays monthly.
Cohen & Steers Quality Income Realty Fund (RQI), 9/17/2019, 6.15%. RQI pays monthly.
CBRE Clarion Global Real Estate Income Fund (IGR), 9/19/2019, 7.83%. IGR pays monthly.
Miller Howard High Income Equity Fund (HIE), 9/23/2019, 12.48%. HIE pays monthly.
Two of my stocks will be announcing earnings in the week ahead, General Mills (GIS) on 9/18/2019, and Darden Restaurants (DRI) on 9/19/2019. Hopefully, the “Cheerios Kid” still has some life left, and the perennial defier of gravity in the hyper-competitive restaurant business can continue to do so.
Rounding out my recap, following are upgrades / downgrades and so on regarding my stocks over the past week, as posted by E*Trade.
Entergy (ETR) was upgraded from Neutral to OverWeight at JP Morgan.
Newmont Goldcorp (NEM) was upgraded from UnderPerform to Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets.
Nestle S A (NSRGY) was downgraded from Buy to Hold at Deutsche Bank.
HCP Inc (HCP) was upgraded from Hold to Buy at Argus Research.
Altria (MO) was downgraded from OverWeight to Neutral at Piper Jaffray.
Kinder Morgan (KMI) was downgraded from Buy to Hold at Argus Research.
Newmont Goldcorp (NEM) was upgraded from Market Perform to OutPerform at BMO Capital Markets.
Digital Realty (DLR) was downgraded from Buy to Neutral at Guggenheim.
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) was downgraded from Buy to Hold at HSBC Securities. Note that U.S. holders should always acquire the “B” shares of RDS, to avoid foreign tax withholding.
Paychex (PAYX) was initiated at Market Perform at Cowen & Co.
Cisco (CSCO) was resumed at OutPerform at Evercore ISI.
Vodafone (VOD) was upgraded from Neutral to OutPerform at Exane BNP Paribus.
Barrick Gold (GOLD) was initiated at OutPerform at Macquarie.
Newmont Goldcorp (NEM) was initiated at Neutral at Macquarie.
It seems like it was only yesterday that “the sky was falling, get your gun, gold, and freeze-dried food, and head for the hills”! Come to think of it, it WAS only yesterday! How quickly things can turn in the markets. No matter how many times we go through these cycles, the pattern repeats, it seems. Nevertheless, there ARE a few things to be concerned about; the ever-increasing levels of governmental debt at all levels, the irrational views espoused by the current crop of Democratic candidates, the flow of “tweets” from the “Tweeter-in-Chief”, the extreme bias of the news media against rational thought and approach to governing, the “Deep State”, Russia and China, the current prospects for the Denver Broncos returning to the Super Bowl, and so on. OK, admittingly, that last one is not at the top of the worry list for most folks. But these types of concerns will always be present, yet the Republic carries on. I’m not saying to ignore threats, they are real in many cases, but put things in perspective, organize your life assuming it will continue, plan for the various contingencies, and that is about the best that you can do. I’m doing that, by shifting into what I believe are stronger investments for volatile times, watching the markets daily to take action when it seems necessary or opportunistic, maintaining a strong cash position, and generally remaining alert and cautious, ready for whatever comes. Just remember, no one has the answer as to what the future will be, all that can be done is to be aware of the most likely possibilities, and have a plan for what to do under the various scenarios.
1st Posting for Week Beginning Monday 09/09/2019
Posted Saturday 09/07/2019 09:00 AM
Recall that two weeks ago, when I last posted, a major down day had just occurred, on Friday August 23. Since then, reviewing the last two weeks, although the volatility has continued, the major averages posted gains overall for each week. The economic readings continue to be mostly positive, punctuated by Friday’s Jobs report, which confirmed the unemployment rate remains at 3.7%, which is generally considered full employment. What that means is that with normal job turnover, the unemployment rate cannot get any better than the range, 3.5% to 4.0%.
Meanwhile, dividend announcements just keep on coming on stocks I follow. Stocks on my lists going ex-dividend in the next week are listed below. Ex-dividend date and current yield are shown, based on Friday’s closing price. Assume frequency is the standard, quarterly, unless otherwise indicated.
Newmont Goldcorp, formerly Newmont Mining, (NEM), 9/11/2019, 1.42%.
Medical Properties Trust (MPW), 9/11/2019, 5.48%.
Digital Realty (DLR), 9/12/2019, 3.41%.
Crown Castle International (CCI), 9/12/2019, 3.06%.
PotlatchDeltic (PCH), 9/12/2019, 4.12%.
Williams Companies (WMB), 9/12/2019, 6.31%.
Oaktree Specialty Lending (OCSL), formerly Fifth Street Finance (FSC), 9/12/2019, 7.25%.
Ares Capital (ARCC), 9/13/2019, 8.46%.
Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (WRE), 9/13/2019, 4.46%.
Monroe Capital (MRCC), 9/13/2019, 13.88%.
Coca Cola (KO), 9/13/2019, 2.90%.
Iron Mountain (IRM), 9/13/2019, 7.39%.
Merck (MRK), 9/13/2019, 2.56%.
Black Capital Investment (BKCC), 9/13/2019, 12.95%.
Altria (MO), 9/13/2019, 7.66%.
General Electric (GE), 9/13/2019, 0.43%. A one-time respectable payout is now reduced to one cent per quarter, which computes to a yield of less than half of one percent, even considering the single-digit stock price.
Gladstone Investment (GAIN), 9/16/2019, 6.95%. GAIN pays monthly.
PennantPark Investment (PNNT), 9/16/2019, 11.54%.
Greif (GEF), 9/16/2019, 5.00%.
Regarding the 15 CEFs I’m tracking, eight will be going ex-dividend next week, including two quarterly payers.
BlackRock Debt Strategies Fund (DSU), 09/13/2019, 7.65%. DSU pays monthly.
Dividend and Income Fund (DNI), 09/16/2019, 6.96%. DNI pays quarterly.
Nuveen Dow 30SM Dynamic Overwrite Fund (DIAX), 09/12/2019, 6.65%. DIAX pays quarterly.
BlackRock Enhanced Equity Dividend Trust (BDJ), 09/13/2019, 6.26%. BDJ pays monthly.
Nuveen Real Asset Income and Growth Fund (JRI), 09/12/2019, 7.42%. JRI pays monthly.
Gabelli Utility Trust (GUT), 09/13/2019, 8.52%. GUT pays monthly.
Gabelli Dividend & Income Trust (GDV), 09/13/2019, 6.26%. GDV pays monthly.
BlackRock Energy and Resources Trust (BGR), 09/13/2019, 8.76%. BGR pays monthly.
None of my stocks will be reporting earnings in the week ahead.
Rounding out my recap, following are upgrades / downgrades and so on regarding my stocks over the past two weeks, as posted by E*Trade.
United Parcel Service (UPS) was upgraded from Neutral to OutPerform at Daiwa Securities.
Exelon (EXC) was upgraded from Equal Weight to OverWeight at Morgan Stanley.
Realty Income (O) was initiated at Hold at Deutsche Bank.
JM Smucker (SJM) was reiterated at Neutral at Bank of America.
Spirit Realty Capital (SRC) was initiated at Buy at Stifel.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was upgraded from Sell to Buy at Societe Generale.
Unilever (UL) was upgraded from Neutral to Buy at Goldman.
Annaly Capital Management (NLY) was downgraded from Buy to Neutral at UBS.
Eaton (ETN) was downgraded from OutPerform to Neutral at Baird.
HCP Inc (HCP) was initiated at OverWeight at Barclays.
Medical Properties Trust (MPW) was initiated at OverWeight at Barclays.
Ventas (VTR) was initiated at Equal Weight at Barclays.
Kimco Realty (KIM) was downgraded from Neutral to Sell at Compass Point.
Nucor (NUE) was reiterated at UnderPerform at Bank of America.
Pan American Silver (PAAS) was upgraded from Sector Perform to OutPerform at RBC Capital Markets.
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) was downgraded from OutPerform to Market Perform at Cowen.
General Electric (GE) was resumed at Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.
Walmart (WMT) was reiterated at OverWeight at Morgan Stanley.
Kellogg (K) was upgraded from Neutral to Buy at Goldman.
Entergy (ETR) was downgraded from OverWeight to Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.
Senior Housing Properties Trust (SNH) was initiated at Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.
Since the increase in volatility that began in August, the major averages are generally about where they were at the beginning of August. While most pundits expect a recession “soon”, the official line, as per the Fed, is that a recession is not imminent. Certainly over this recent period there has been a flight to quality, which has seen the “blue chips” bid up, causing yields to be down. So buy opportunities are definitely lacking. An exception is the energy sector, especially MLPs, as that sector is presumed by many to be declining in importance, compared to recent years. But one cannot overweight any one sector too much, and maintain diversity. Now is a time to be very selective regarding what to buy and when, but otherwise assume life will go on, contrary to the predictions of the numerous doomsayers.
1st Posting for Week Beginning Monday 08/26/2019
Posted Sunday 08/25/2019 09:00 AM
Stocks were on track to post a positive week until Friday happened, when a huge selloff resulted after a series of tweets from you-know-who indicated the economic dispute with China was being escalated in a major way. Prospects for a deal with China seems more remote than ever, and the markets reacted accordingly.
Meanwhile, dividend announcements just keep on coming on stocks I follow. I will project ahead two weeks on this post, as I will be traveling next weekend, and will not post again until the week starting 9/9/2019. Stocks on my lists going ex-dividend in the next two weeks are listed below. Ex-dividend date and current yield are shown, based on Friday’s closing price. Assume frequency is the standard, quarterly, unless otherwise indicated.
Johnson and Johnson (JNJ), 8/26/2019, 2.89%.
NextEra Energy (NEE), 8/26/2019, 2.26%.
AGNC Investment (AGNC), 8/29/2019, 12.08%. AGNC is a monthly payer.
CenturyLink (CTL), 8/29/2019, 8.64%.
STAG Industrial (STAG), 8/29/2019, 4.91%. STAG is a monthly payer.
Enerplus (ERF), 8/29/2019, 1.41%. ERF is a monthly payer also.
Barrick Gold (GOLD), 8/29/2019, 0.85%. This one is obviously a gold speculation, not a dividend play, and lately, is paying off, finally. GOLD has advanced from a mid-2018 low of $10 to $19 and change as of Friday’s close.
Prospect Capital (PSEC), 8/29/2019, 10.78%. PSEC is a monthly payer.
Brookfield Renewable Partners LP (BEP), 8/29/2019, 5.55%. BEP is a new addition to my Tier2 list, which I have not updated yet to include it. I’ll update all my lists “soon”, when I have some time.
Realty Income (O), 8/30/2019, 3.72%. O is a monthly payer. The inadequate yield for this REIT reflects the popularity of O, which has been bid up from the $50’s to the $70’s since early in 2018.
Kellogg (K), 8/30/2019, 3.57%. I was contemplating K when it was below $55 just a few months ago, but passed, thinking the era of breakfast cereals was over. K closed above $63 Friday, pushing the yield below 4%.
Safety Insurance Group (SAFT), 8/30/2019, 3.70%. Up from below $60 in 2016 to $93 and change Friday, this solid payer now yields less than 4%.
Washington Prime Group (WPG), 8/30/2019, 29.59%. Yes, the yield exceeds 29%. Everyone and their dog has been predicting the demise of WPG for years now, and they likely will be proven right eventually. WPG is now on my Tier4 list, do not buy, but if it has been held to this point, one might as well keep holding and see what happens, bailing out now won’t get you much, with a stock price of $3.30 as of Friday’s close.
McDonalds (MCD), 8/29/2019, 2.11%. This “weighty” contributor to America’s obesity epidemic continues to outperform, proving once again that no one has ever lost money wagering on Americans continuing to make terrible food choices!
Gladstone Investment (GAIN), 9/3/2019, 7.05%. GAIN is a monthly payer.
Pepsico (PEP), 9/5/2019, 2.88%. Take what I said about MCD and double it, you have my analysis regarding PEP.
Kimberly Clark (KMB), 9/5/2019, 2.91%.
Public Service Enterprise Group (PEG), 9/6/2019, 3.18%.
We really have a two-tier market these days, with perceived quality names bid up to extreme levels, forcing yields down lower than historical levels, while names perceived as vulnerable to the coming downturn, expected by nearly all pundits, are available at bargain prices. Certainly, considering the outlook, the natural tendency is to shift into quality, but my mode is, considering the miserable yields, I would just as soon hold a higher than usual cash level, admittedly earning zip, and await much better prices on the quality names.
Regarding the 15 CEFs I’m tracking, one has announced a dividend in the two-week look-ahead time frame, and another probably will likewise go ex-dividend in that time frame.
First Trust Intermediate Duration Preferred & Income Fund (FPF), 9/3/2019, 7.35%.
AllianceBernstein Global High Income Fund (AWF), expected ex-dividend date between 9/1/2019 and 9/5/2019, 6.98%.
Both of these CEFs are monthly payers.
Only two of my stocks will be reporting in the next two weeks, Smucker J M (SJM) on 8/27/2019, and Greif (GEF) on 8/28/2019. GEF is available at a true bargain price today, in my opinion, because the international packaging firm is expected to see a decline in revenue if the expected downturn hits. With a solid balance sheet and a 5.41% yield, I believe GEF will duplicate the performance of the last cycle, when it advanced from below $30 in early 2016 to $60+ in a little over a year. I rode this train then, but exited too early, it turned out. I re-boarded a little early this time, a couple of dollars higher than where GEF is currently trading, but I plan to stay on board longer, when it rises once again. If it really goes south from here, I will add to my position and reduce my average cost basis. One vote of confidence has been stock purchases at today’s levels by senior management, almost never a bad sign.
Rounding out my recap, following are upgrades / downgrades and so on regarding my stocks over the past week, as posted by E*Trade.
Ares Capital (ARCC) was upgraded from Market Perform to OutPerform at BMO Capital Markets. I have held ARCC since 2007, only 100 shares, and have received over $2000 in dividends, and while the stock price has not gained much since I acquired it, it has not declined, either. A winner no matter how you slice it!
Enlink Midstream LLC (ENLC) was downgraded from OutPerform to Neutral at Credit Suisse.
Chevron (CVX) and ConocoPhillips (COP) were both initiated at OverWeight at Barclays, while ExxonMobil (XOM) was initiated at Equal Weight by the ratings firm.
Chimera Investment (CIM) was downgraded from OutPerform to Neutral at Credit Suisse.
Chevron (CVX) was initiated at OutPerform at BMO Capital Markets, while ExxonMobil (XOM), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B), and Total S A (TOT) were all initiated at Market Perform by the ratings firm.
Kinder Morgan (KMI) was upgraded from UnderPerform to Peer Perform at Wolfe Research. Always glad to see the company paying me a pension receive an upgrade. KMI is slowly recovering from a dividend cut and a Canadian pipeline debacle in recent years, and remains a solid firm, in my opinion.
Kimco Realty (KIM) was downgraded from OutPerform to Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets.
Altria (MO) was upgraded from UnderWeight to Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley. MO will likely keep on paying dividends for years to come, but I just can’t pull the trigger and acquire shares of a firm that is guaranteed to experience a decline in business in the coming years.
Crestwood Equity Partners LP (CEQP) was upgraded from Sector Perform to OutPerform at RBC Capital Markets. As I have stated before, CEQP is a decent MLP now, but I have bad memories of a 5:1 reverse split that reduced my holdings from 150 shares to 30 shares a few years ago. I held on to the 30 shares, and I’m slowly getting back to even, but I have never forgiven the firm enough to add to my position.
Ares Capital (ARCC) was downgraded from Buy to Neutral at Compass Point.
The market remains extremely volatile just now, although the general state is as I have described, with a retreat to quality causing the prices of those names perceived as quality being bid up to extreme levels, while names not perceived as such are available at bargain prices in many cases. I have sold some stocks that I considered over-priced or at extreme risk, have sold covered calls on a number of others that I believe are close to a top, but that I didn’t want to part with, and just this week, I sold a put on ETF AMLP, which pays me to wait for a price decline before adding shares at a price lower than the market price at the point of the put sale. There is seldom a better deal available in the markets than a cash-covered put sale, but on the eve of a possible major decline, one must be very selective on initiating these positions. This is the only position of this type that I have open at this point. The afore-mentioned moves, plus a high cash position, is how I am positioning myself for a market decline, if it comes. If it never comes, at least not in the next year or two, I’ll be OK, and if it comes, I’ll still be OK. That’s what a hedge fund tries to accomplish, and that’s what I’m trying to accomplish. It’s not a “head for the hills” approach, nor is it an “ignore all danger signs” approach, but rather a compromise strategy to survive either extreme, plus do just fine if neither extreme comes to pass.