Losing makes for tough choice
In the case of the other four stocks in the portfolio, I'm showing losses -- in two cases sizable losses -- that make it important to bring "permanent impairment of capital" into my thinking. Shares of Westpac Banking (WBK) were down 1.3% from my Feb. 3 purchase date through June 29. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (KMP) was down 7.1% from May 6, 2011, to June 29, 2012. Total (TOT) was down 17.8%, and Banco Santander (SAN) was down 39.1% in the same period.
Although you might shrug off the 1.3% loss on Westpac in light of its 7.7% current yield, the losses on the other stocks are big enough to wipe out all the dividends those stocks paid and more. When you're looking at drops in price like those, the current 6.1% yield on Kinder Morgan, the 6.4% on Total and the 17.6% on Banco Santander aren't especially impressive.
It is correct to say that those losses won't be realized until you sell, and that in the meantime, you're collecting real dividends. (Well, mostly "real." Banco Santander is paying in scrip -- offering more shares instead of cash.)
But that isn't an excuse for thinking those losses aren't real. Your portfolio is poorer today than it was a year or so ago, to the tune of that 39% drop in Banco Santander and that 18% drop in Total.
The big question an income investor faces with underwater positions like these is: Are the losses permanent (or of such long duration that they might as well be permanent)? What do you have to look forward to with these stocks?
If Banco Santander is going to come back to anything like the $10.20 a share price that I paid in 2010, then it's a great dividend income investment on the basis of its current 17.6% yield (and investors ought to be buying more at the current price). It would be a very attractive total return investment as well. If the trend in the stock is still down, the extraordinarily high yield doesn't matter. A drop of an additional dollar or so per share would wipe out that yield, and investors should sell. (This is especially true for Banco Santander, because the bank has been paying much of its dividend in scrip. If the bank's shares fall, the value of the dividend will, too.)
So the analysis of whether to buy/sell/hold these underwater income stocks comes down to your belief about how permanent the current impairment of capital is.
'Losers' worth keeping
I certainly wouldn't recommend selling Westpac right now, because I think the shares will make back the current minuscule loss when the Australian market isn't so worried about a slowdown in China. I wouldn't sell Kinder Morgan, either, since I think the loss on the stock is a temporary reflection of slower growth in the U.S. economy. Total's shares are down more in the last year (17.2%) than those of ExxonMobil (XOM) or Chevron (CVX), which show 7.8% and 6% gains, respectively, but it isn't out of line with the losses on smaller oil company stocks. Shares of Apache (APA), for example, are down 28.3% in the past year. I expect the price of Total shares to come back when oil prices and demand do -- in 2013, I estimate -- and in the meantime, I'm willing to get paid 6.4% while I wait.
Banco Santander is the tough one in this group. My expectations are that the bank will come out of the current Spanish debt crisis with a bigger market share in its home market of Spain and with much of its global banking kingdom intact. I haven't materially changed my take on the bank since my post on April 13, and I think that the decision of the recent European summit to allow direct capital injections into struggling Spanish banks (a group that doesn't include Santander) lessens the risk that Spain's weak banks will drag down the Spanish government and in turn drag down Spain's stronger banks.
At this point, I'll keep it in the portfolio. But anyone holding this stock should recognize that you don't get paid 17.6%, even in scrip, without taking on a lot of risk.
Check out the 'winners,' too
Your permanent impairment of capital analysis shouldn't be limited to just your underwater positions. You should also try to project the possibility that any stock now above water will join the underwater part of your portfolio in the near future.
The one stock in the positive section of the portfolio that worries me on this basis is Penn Virginia. The company's coal comes from the relatively high-cost eastern United States, and while I understand the company's diversification into natural gas collection and pipeline systems, if I wanted to own more of this kind of asset, I'd look to increase my investment in Oneok or Magellan, or buy Western Gas Partners (WES). I'm selling Penn Virginia Resource Partners from this portfolio with this column.
That leaves me with two slots to fill. One goes to Western Gas Partners. The stock is currently a member of my Jubak's Picks portfolio, but I think it's a better fit with this income portfolio, given its 4.2% yield. The shares have recently pulled back on news that the company was going to sell 5 million new units. The other slot goes to Seadrill (SDRL), another stock that I'm moving over from Jubak's Picks. The stock was down 7.5% from May 1 through June 29, and it now pays a 9.2% yield.
I'll have detailed write-ups of these drops and adds in the next day or so, as I add them to the portfolio.
Since I re-launched this portfolio on October 6, 2009, it has traded yield for capital appreciation. The dividend yield on the S&P 500 index ($INX) from October 6, 2009 to the end of June 2012 was 1.97% a year. The dividend on the portfolio averaged an annual 5.7%. In calculating the value of the portfolio, I assume all dividends from the portfolio are distributed to the owner of the portfolio as income and that no dividends are reinvested. The value of the portfolio -- the value of the 10 stocks in the portfolio plus the cash balance, if any, from buy and sells -- has climbed to $120,642 from the original $100,000 in October 6, 2009, for a gain of 21%. During that same period the Standard & Poor's index has gained 29%.
So far, then, that's the trade-off -- about 3.8 percentage points higher annual yield versus a slower increase in the value of the portfolio of a total of about 8 percentage points from October 6, 2009 to June 29, 2012. My hope is that the current impairment in the value of stocks such as Banco Santander and Total won't be permanent. That would clearly change the parameters of the trade-off.
I'll revisit this portfolio on its three-year anniversary in October 2012.
Updates to Jubak's Picks
These recent blog posts contain updates to the stocks in Jubak's market-beating portfolios:
- A standout energy stock in a battered sector
- Keep cash ready for buying opportunities
- Why Moody's 15 bank downgrades matter
- A new opportunity for income growth
- Can Costco thrive on Wal-Mart's international woes?
- Are fertilizer stocks set to rally?
At the time of publication, Jim Jubak did not own or control shares of any company mentioned in this column in his personal portfolio. The mutual fund he manages, Jubak Global Equity Fund (JUBAX), may or may not now own positions in any stock mentioned in this column. The fund did own shares of Banco Santander, Magellan Midstream Partners, Seadrill and Westpac Banking as of the end of March. A full list of the stocks in the fund as of the end of March see the fund's portfolio is here.
Jim Jubak's column has run on MSN Money since 1997. He is the author of the book "The Jubak Picks," based on his market-beating Jubak's Picks portfolio; the writer of the Jubak's Picks blog; and the senior markets editor at MoneyShow.com. Get a free 60-day trial subscription to JAM, his premium investment letter, by using this code: MSN60 when you register at the Jubak Asset Management website.
Click here to find Jubak's most recent articles, blog posts and stock picks.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
I still like this stock as a 5 year-or-so investment. Oil companies are in their twilight - we all know that - but still have plenty of profitable years ahead, probably even as they fade out in 20 or 30 years when I'll no longer be around except as compost. The euro is on the ropes, and if it should come off them, there is the possibility of serious capital appreciation in this stock as well as the Spanish bank. Meanwhile I watch and wait, a little nervously, but will continue to hold. If it goes up, I'll kick myself for not buying it when it was down, and if it goes down, for not dumping it, lol. That's investing..
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Financial Information.
[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 settled lower by 0.8% after early strength turned into afternoon weakness.
Today's headline event came in the form of Ben Bernanke's testimony before the Joint Economic Committee. During his remarks, Chairman Bernanke said premature tightening of monetary policy could stall the pace of recovery. This followed weeks of conflicting remarks from FOMC members, which sparked speculation regarding possible changes to the Fed's policy course.
However, ... More
More Market News
|There’s a problem getting this information right now. Please try again later.|