3 Stocks Increasing their Dividends in August

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When interest rates start to go up, investors worry about the value of their higher yield dividend stocks. A defense against higher interest rates is to own dividend stocks that will grow the dividend payments. The secret is to know which stocks will make a higher dividend announcement before the rest of the market finds out.

Many real estate investment trusts (REITs) pay attractive current yields and regularly increase their dividend rates. I maintain a database of about 140 REITs, out of which about 100 have histories of dividend growth. Most of these companies increase the quarterly dividend once a year, and then pay the new rate for the next four quarters. Even though individual REITs increase their dividends once a year, those announcements are spread across almost every month of the year. To capture those share price gains, you want to buy shares a few weeks to a month before the next dividend announcement is published. Now in mid-July, it is a great time to look at those REITs that should increase dividends in August. Here are four REITs from my database that historically have boosted their payouts in August.

Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE:FRT) is a $9 billion market cap REIT that owns, operates, and redevelops high quality retail real estate in the country’s best markets. FRT has increased its dividend for 49 consecutive years, the longest growth streak of any REIT. Over the last 10 years, the average annual dividend increase has been about 5%. Last year the dividend was increased by 4.3%. Based on management guidance, an increase close to the 5% annual average is in the cards for this year. The company announces its new dividend rate in early August. The ex-dividend date will be in mid-September with payment about a week later. The FRT share price is down by 22% over the last year. This is a very high-quality REIT currently on sale. The stock yields 3.1%.

Timberlands owner and wood products producer Weyerhaeuser Co (NYSE:WY) converted to REIT status in 2010. Since then the company has more than doubled its quarterly dividend rate. However, last year, the company did not increase the dividend. Weyerhaeuser completed a merger with Plum Creek Timber in February 2016, so it’s likely that the consolidation costs kept the company from announcing a higher dividend. Business results are off to a very strong start in 2017 compared to 2016. This points to a resumption of dividend growth this year. Historically, Weyerhaeuser announces a new dividend rate in the second half of August, with payment dates in September or November. The next dividend declaration date is August 24th with the next payment dates on September 22nd and December 15th. WY yields 3.7%.

Eastgroup Properties Inc (NYSE:EGP) is a $2.8 billion market value REIT that focuses on development, acquisition and operation of industrial properties in major Sunbelt markets throughout the United States with an emphasis on the states of Florida, Texas, Arizona, California and North Carolina. The industrial properties segment is currently one of the best performing real estate sectors. The company has increased its dividend for 21 of the last 24 years, including the last five in a row. Last year the payout was increased by 3.3%. This year my forecast is for a 5% to 7% increase. The new dividend rate should be announced in late August or early September, with a mid-September ex-dividend date and end of the month payment date. EGP yields 3.0%.

Bonus Stock to Watch in Early August

Healthcare Trust of America, Inc. (NYSE: HTA) is a $5.8 billion REIT that acquires, owns and operates medical office buildings. The company reduced its dividend in 2012 and 2013, which was followed by small increases in each of the next three years. Last year the dividend was bumped up by 1.7%, double the increase of the previous year. In 2016, the funds available for distribution per share increased by 12%, and for the 2016 first quarter, FAD per share was up 8.8% compared to a year earlier. Management has been very conservative with the dividend growth, but this year’s dividend increase may be significantly greater than the change of the past two years. Last year the new dividend rate was announced in early August, with an end of September ex-dividend date and early October payment date.

Turning your retirement savings into a consistent stream of income is no easy task. You might spend hours researching what stocks to buy, only to end up with three seemingly attractive stocks like the three above.

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The Stock Market’s Least Exciting 8% Yield Stock

Investors who own individual stocks like to watch the markets and financial news websites for new information about the stocks they own. With some companies, there is news every week or every few days, and this stream of information can drive share prices up and down.

The flip-flops are hard to predict and are mentally draining. Starwood Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE: STWD) is a company that does not get much financial press coverage – which is a good thing.

Starwood Property Trust is a finance real estate investment trust, also called a REIT. The company’s primary business is the origination of commercial property mortgage loans. The loans are then held in Starwood’s portfolio. The company also operates a commercial mortgage servicing arm and owns a small portfolio of commercial real estate properties.

The finance REIT universe consists of about 30 publicly traded companies. Most of them operate in the residential mortgage space. The most common business model is to own a highly leveraged portfolio of residential mortgage backed securities (MBS) with the goal of profiting from the interest rate spread between short-term borrowing costs and the rate paid on MBS. That model is very sensitive to changes in both short and long-term interest rates.

Investors familiar with the high yield residential MBS REITs may be surprised to learn that Starwood Property Trust is the third largest company by market cap in the sector. Only Annaly Capital Management, Inc. (NYSE: NLY) and AGNC Investment Corp (NASDAQ: AGNC) are valued higher than the STWD $5.7 billion market capitalization.

The larger finance REITs and many of the much smaller companies in the sector are the subjects of far more financial press coverage and analysis. The reason for the lack of news about Starwood Property Trust is that the company is a safe and steady cash flow generator. There are no risks in the Starwood balance sheet or income statement that would give a financial writer something interesting to dig into for an article. Safe and conservative doesn’t sell in the financial news world. It sounds pretty good for an individual investment portfolio.

There are no risks in the Starwood balance sheet or income statement that would give a financial writer something interesting to dig into for an article. Safe and conservative doesn’t sell in the financial news world, but it sounds pretty good for an individual investment portfolio.

Consider these facts about the Starwood Property Trust financials:

  • STWD has a 1.4 times debt to equity balance sheet. The typical residential MBS REIT is leveraged 6 times or more to equity.
  • In its commercial loan portfolio, STWD has a very conservative 63.3% loan-to-value. Starwood has never booked a commercial mortgage loss.
  • With eight years as a public company, STWD has never reduced its dividend rate. The dividend has been increased several times in the company’s history. The current $0.48 per share quarterly payout has been in effect for three years. Most of the residential mortgage REITs have slashed dividends during the last three years.
  • Starwood has been making selective commercial property acquisitions that enhance the long-term stability of the company’s revenue and free cash flow stream.

The bottom line is that Starwood Property Trust gets little financial news press because it is so well run that writers and analysts can’t find anything that would cause problems for the company. This is a dividend paying stock that will not fluctuate much in share price and will pay that attractive dividend quarter after quarter. With a current 8.7% yield, it is a good time to initiate or add to a position in STWD. I very much like the idea of earning near 9% without drama.

Turning your retirement savings into a consistent stream of income is no easy task. You might spend hours researching what stocks to buy, only to end up with more questions than answers.

There are thousands of stocks to choose from, but only a small percentage of that group are the right stocks for you to own. The best high-yield stocks need to have safe long-term businesses that print money every year no matter what the market does. Those are the only companies that can pay consistent dividends.

That’s a tall task for most companies, and unless you have a degree in finance or worked on Wall Street, picking the best companies to own, out of all of the other ones, is an extremely difficult task.

An Options Trade That Wins No Matter What Direction Gold Moves

Over the next several weeks, investors will be heavily focused on any news or data which could impact the timing of future interest rate increases. Almost nothing moves the financial markets like major interest rate news.

For a change, we could have new market-moving info on our hands for the first time in many months.

You see, the Fed originally had a plan to increase rates three times in 2017. Their thought was the growing U.S. economy could sustain three small rate increases. The purpose behind these increases is to keep inflation from increasing too high or too quickly. (Two of the three increases have already happened.)

However, recent economic data suggest inflation isn’t of any real concern right now. In fact, it may even be too low (a topic which always sparks a ton of debate).

The key is, the Fed wants to avoid deflation at all costs, even at the risk of inflation rising too quickly. So, with inflation concerns shelved for the moment, the Fed may not have a reason to raise rates just yet. It’s even possible we won’t see another rate hike in 2017.

As you can imagine, whether or not the Fed raises rates again in 2017 is a big deal to short-term investors. That’s why every bit of news from the Fed and any major economic news will be analyzed ad nauseam for clues on when the next hike may occur.

Here’s the thing…

The timing of the next rate increase could have a major impact on the price of gold. As an alternative currency, gold prices will move quite a bit based on what US interest rates do. As such, there’s reason to believe gold could be more volatile in the coming weeks (and maybe months).

At least one big trader believes gold miners could be impacted heavily all the way until next year. Of course, gold miners move pretty consistently with gold prices. And, this trader just spent a pile of cash betting miners as a group will be far away from current levels by this time next year.

More specifically, the trader purchased a large strangle in the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX) expiring in June of 2018. A strangle consists of an out-of-the-money call and out-of-the-money put purchased simultaneously in the same expiration period. In this case, with the ETF at just over $22, the buyer purchased the 18 put and the 30 call. That’s a very wide strangle for such a low underlying price. In fact, with the cost of the trade at around $1.50 per strangle break-even points are all the way at around $16.50 and $31.50.

The strangle buyer clearly believes the next year is going to be volatile for gold and gold miners. The trader purchased 9,300 strangles, so is spending nearly $1.5 million on this trade. In other words, this is no idle bet.

Given what’s going on with interest rates, it doesn’t surprise me that at least one big trader is betting things are going to get interesting with gold over the next year. However, if you believe gold is going to move, you could take a more direct and shorter-term approach.

For example, the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (NYSE: GLD) looks like it could easily be on the verge of a big move either direction. This direct play on the price of gold could also be a good choice if you believe the precious metal is going to move in the next several weeks instead of months.

As of this writing, you could purchase the September 1st (of this year) 116.50-119.50 strangle in GLD for about $2.00. That’s bit more expensive than the GDX strangle from earlier, but it’s far closer to the money. Break even points would be at $114.50 and $121.50 – both very reachable levels in the next month if any economic surprises occur.

5 Wealth-Building Income Stocks for Double-Digit Growth

At the start of each new quarter, there is a group of companies that announce their next dividend payments well before the actual earnings results. I look forward to these press releases, as they are proof that my income stock portfolio is providing me with a “pay” increase every quarter.

My Dividend Hunter philosophy and investment strategies focus on building a dividend income stream. If your stocks pay stable and growing dividends, the share prices are not the focus. If dividends grow, the share prices must at some point follow.

Master limited partnerships (MLPs) are companies that provide infrastructure assets and services in the energy sector. The market often links MLP values with energy commodity prices, typically the value of crude oil. However, most MLPs have fee-based business models providing essential transport, storage, and terminal services to the full range of energy producers, processors, retailers and end users.

The best MLPs have business operations and client relationships that allow them to increase the distributions paid to investors every quarter. It is about the time in the new quarter that the dividend increase announcements start to hit my e-mail inbox. I look forward to reading about how much of a pay raise my income stocks are giving me every quarter.

We are still early in the distribution announcing season, but already there has been some strong growth numbers. Here are five companies with distributions rated at “No Risk of Distribution Cut” by MLPData.com (subscription required) and companies that investors can expect to continue their trajectories of dividend growth.

Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MMP)primarily provides refined energy products pipeline and terminal services. Magellan has now increased its distribution for 61 consecutive quarters. The new distribution is 2% higher than last quarter’s payout and up 9% compared to one year ago. MMP yields 4.95%.

Phillips 66 Partners LP (NYSE: PSXP) provides pipeline, storage and terminal services for its sponsor company, crude oil refiner Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX). The new PSXP distribution is up 4.95% over last quarter and has been increased by 21.8% over the last year. The units yield 4.5%.

Valero Energy Partners LP (NYSE: VLP) is another refiner sponsored MLP, providing similar services to Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE: VLO). VLP just increased its dividend by 6.4% and the new rate is 24.6% higher than the rate paid a year ago. VLP yields 3.7%.

Antero Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: AM) provides natural gas gathering and water treatment services to its sponsor, Antero Resources (NYSE: AR), a natural gas exploration and production energy company. The AM distribution was just increased by 6.7% and is up 28% year-over-year. The units yield 3.7%

Tallgrass Energy Partners LP (NYSE: TEP) owns and operates both crude oil and natural gas interstate pipelines and the terminals where the oil and gas get on and off those pipelines. Since its 2013 IPO, Tallgrass Energy Partners has one of the strongest distribution growth records in the MLP space. This quarter the payout was increased 10.8% over the previous quarter. The distribution is up 22.5% over the last year. TEP yields 7.2%.

These growing distribution MLPs can be great buys when the market is slow to price in new distribution increases. Over the last few months, MLP values have been tracking down with crude oil. Yet the numbers above show that revenues and cash flow continue to grow. These MLPs report tax information on IRS Schedules K-1. These tax forms add some work at tax filing time and generally make these investments a poor fit for IRA and other tax advantaged accounts. I show my Dividend Hunter subscribers some comparable 1099 reporting alternative energy infrastructure investments that have great distribution growth and income potential.

Turning your retirement savings into a consistent stream of income is no easy task. You might spend hours researching what stocks to buy, only to end up with three seemingly attractive stocks like the three above.

There are thousands of stocks to choose from, but only a small percentage of that group are the right stocks for you to own. The best high-yield stocks need to have safe long-term businesses that print money every year no matter what the market does. Those are the only companies that can pay consistent dividends.

That’s a tall task for most companies, and unless you have a degree in finance or worked on Wall Street, picking the best companies to own, out of all of the other ones, is an extremely difficult task.

2 Ultra-Safe Dividend Stocks for Growth and Income

Last week I had an interesting interview and general phone chat with John Bartlett, CFA, portfolio manager for Reaves Asset Management. Reaves Asset Management has a 40-year history of managing accounts focused on key infrastructure-related industries such as utilities, energy, telecommunications, and water. While the majority of money managed by Reaves is in private, institutional accounts, the firm offers a pair of publicly traded funds that provide two distinct utility sector opportunities to individual investors.

Historically, utility stocks were viewed as investments for very conservative investors, widow stocks was a common term applied to them. These companies pay regular dividends with businesses that are regulated to guarantee a profit margin to pay those dividends. Yields from utility stocks have historically been higher than from other blue-chip stocks.

That has been the long-term basis of utility stock investing; attractive yields and very safe dividend payments. The other belief about utility stocks is that they are not a good asset class to own when interest rates are rising. It is this fear that has led to the recent 5% decline over the last month in the utilities sector. While the safety factor still applies, Bartlett filled me in on some factors that point to strong returns from the utility sector in any interest rate environment.

The analysts at Reaves maintain close contact with the different companies in the utility sector. Bartlett told me that there is a tremendous backlog of pending infrastructure projects in the sector, waiting for regulatory approval. One reason for the backlog is that the four-member Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) currently has just one member, so it cannot issue approvals for any projects that fall under its jurisdiction. The current administration has nominated new members to fill out the board.

Once those nominations are approved by the U.S. Senate, expect many utility infrastructure projects to be approved and construction started. A little-known feature of the regulated utility industry is that these companies are allowed by regulators to charge for and earn an attractive rate of return on all capital spending projects. In the current energy consumption environment, projects will be for renewable energy sources, conversion from coal to natural gas, and to increase the efficiencies and lower pollution emissions from existing power plants.

Bartlett and the Reaves team expect utility stock dividend yields will stay at around 5%. Net income and dividend per share growth will, on average, be 4% to 5% per year. Put together the yield plus growth and investors can expect a high single to low double-digit returns. With the level of safety and predictable returns provided by utilities that level of returns can build wealth over time without the stress from more volatile market sectors.

Reaves Asset Management offers two funds that give investors different types of utility sector exposure.

Reaves Utility Income Fund (NYSE: UTG) is a closed-end fund that focuses on paying a steady income to investors. The UTG portfolio owns public utility stocks and diversifies into telecom and energy infrastructure stocks. This fund pays a monthly dividend and has paid that dividend for over 13 years without a reduction. The dividend rate has slowly, but steadily increased. UTG is the utility sector investment for an investor who wants current dividend income. The fund yields 5.5% and is on my Dividend Hunter recommended stocks list. You can find out more about UTG from the January 2017 issue when you sign up for a risk-free subscription to The Dividend Hunter.

Reaves Utilities ETF (NYSE: UTES) is an actively managed ETF that only invests in the traditional utility companies. The fund is managed to generate a total return after fees greater than the return of the S&P 500 Utilities Index. To reach that goal, UTES focuses on those utilities with higher predictable growth rates. Since it launched in September 2015, the fund has generated a 19.8% average annual return compared to 16.9% for the index.

Owning safe and reliable income stocks like the two above has never been more important than right now. Powerful groups in Washington have already proposed huge cuts to Medicaid when they promised the wouldn’t…

and what if Social Security is next on the list to get a deep cut?

This disaster could be closer than you think, and I’ve just released a huge research report detailing exactly why now more than ever you need to develop a second stream of income.

Click here to read this pressing report.

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