By Robert Hauver
In spite of over 75% of S&P 500 firms beating or meeting earnings expectations, the Eurozone debt crisis, a slow US economic recovery & the continuing DC stalemate on economic issues, plus slower growth in China are combining to scare investors into a “risk off” position in November. The market has pulled back -9.59% this month, nearly as much as the Sept. selloff, as each of the last 5 months have alternated between rallies and pullbacks.
If you’re an income investor looking for which Dow dividend stocks have been the best stocks to buy in recent months for income and defense, these 3 dividend stocks have all sold off less during these 2011 pullbacks, and have also participated nicely in the rallies. (The only exception is HD’s pullback during the July rally.) They’ve also declined even less in this most recent pullback, (Oct. 28 through Nov. 23, 2011), than in the previous Sept. pullback.
Valuations: HD appears to be the most undervalued stock, on a recent and future EPS growth basis. This seems logical, as HD suffered mightily during the downturn, and homeowners still have to fix their homes eventually. HD’s Price/book is higher that the Home Improvement industry avg. of 2.24, but HD’s very low .83 Price/Sales ratio is in line with industry avgs.
High Options Yields can lower your risk and pump up your dividend yields: Although they’re defensive stocks, MCD and HD have options yields which can help you to turn them into virtual, short-term high dividend stocks.
Covered Calls: If you want to buy these defensive dividend stocks, but gain some downside protection, in the form of a quick “rebate”, selling covered call options is one way to go. In these 2 call option selling trades, you’ll get paid over 6 times the dividend amount now, when you sell call options against the underlying shares.
Selling covered calls allows you to realize some of the stock’s upside potential immediately, and turn a 3% annualized dividend yield into a 15% – to – 23%-plus overall yield. The rub is that you’re committing to sell the stock at the option strike price, even if the stock rises far beyond that price by the Feb. or March expiration date. But if you think the stock and the market will stagnate or swing back and forth during that time period, selling covered calls is a proven way of hedging your bet.
(These call options expire in March for MCD, and expire in Feb. for HD.)
(You can see more details on this and over 30 other high yield covered call trades in our Covered Calls Table.)
Cash Secured Puts: If the recent monthly market reverses have your head spinning , and you want to be more conservative, another strategy is to sell cash secured puts at a strike price below a stock’s current price. This usually offers you an even lower break-even price, which lowers your risk even more, and improves your cash flow, since you’ll get paid put option premiums within 3 days of the trade, (often the same day), instead of waiting for quarterly dividends. (Unlike covered call sellers, put sellers don’t collect dividends.)
Your broker will hold in reserve an amount equal to the value of the strike price times 100, for every put contract that you sell, until the contract expires, or the position is closed out. Each options contract corresponds to 100 shares of the underlying stock.
These put options pay approx. 7 to 8 times more than the stocks’ dividends during this 3-4 month period.
The put options below also expire in March for MCD, and expire in Feb. for HD.
(You can find more details on this and over 30 other high yield options trades in our Cash Secured Puts Table.)
Financials: KFT’s Mgt. efficiency ratios are the weakest in the group, and are also below their peer group avgs, while MCD and HD both have above/avg. ROE and ROI for their peer industries.
Technical Data: As usual with defensive stocks, these equities all have low beta’s. MCD and HD are still over 30% above their 52-week lows, but selling the put options listed above would give you a break-even that’s only 19% above MCD’s low, and 21% above HD’s low:
Disclosure: No positions at this time.
Disclaimer: This article is written for informational purposes only and isn’t intended as investment advice.
Author: Robert Hauver © 2011 Demar Marketing All Rights Reserved