Friday, August 21, 2009

doubled Husky holding

Today I doubled my position in Canadian oil firm, Husky Energy (HSE), just in time for the hurricane season.

The reasons I added to Husky here are many:
  • The dividend was recently cut, sitting now at a conservative $1.20 per share on 2009 estimated trough earnings per share of $1.80
  • Given the growth in China and emerging economies, I like the outlook for oil post banking crisis
  • Husky has very little debt and a great balance sheet
  • Given the company's ties with China, capital position, smaller size, and aggressive management, a takeover may not be out of the question
  • As mentioned previously, if I'm investing in a commodity that fluctuates wildly, I like to get paid regularly, instead of trading in and out; Husky provides this
  • If earnings snap back even close to 2006-2008 levels, Husky should be quick to prop the dividend back up
  • I also considered an investment in Crescent Point Energy (CPG), however I think Husky offers a better valuation at these levels

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

SYSCO & P&G; still look good

With the run up the market has had since the March lows, it has become difficult to find stocks with attractive valuations. Many of the more cyclical stocks, as well as financials have really run up and I'm not sure that future earnings will justify the current prices in some cases.

Luckily there are still a few good buys out there. For dividend growth investors, it's a nice bonus when a company is still raising it's dividend through thick and thin. These two firms have solid balance sheets and fit that bill. They have stable product offerings and they've navigated through tough times before. Their dividends are growing and very secure. I've added to my positions in both companies over the past 6 months, and I am considering doing so again at these valuations.

Food distributor SYSCO (SYY) is yielding 4%, and trading at a P/E of 13.6x.

Consumer products giant, Procter & Gamble (PG) is yielding 3.4%, and trading at a P/E of 14.7x.

There are headwinds afoot for both of these firms, but I believe that as long term investments they may be ripe for the picking right now. I may put my money where my mouth is in the near future. For my further thoughts see the posts below.

Added More P&G

Took a Helping of Sysco

Thursday, August 6, 2009

crisis takes it's toll on Manulife's dividend

The credit crisis has taken it's toll on the dividend of Canadian-based insurance giant Manulife Financial (MFC). Manulife's decision to cut its dividend by 50% to $0.13/share is part of an effort to build a strong capital position for what is sounds like are future acquisitions.

The CEO made the following statement today:
While we recognize the importance of the cash dividend to many of our common shareholders, we believe that retaining more of our earnings is the most effective means of building capital, while still providing an attractive yield for our shareholders who will benefit as we deploy our capital for growth. We believe that companies that build fortress levels of capital will benefit their policyholders and shareholders and be recognized favourably by regulators and ratings agencies."

This move was mildly expected, however I believe it will still come as a shock to many dividend investors, as Manulife has long been viewed as a stalwart on the Canadian and global financial scene.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Saputo pushes dividend up

Dairy producer Saputo (SAP) has increased it's quarterly dividend by a meagre 3.6% to 14.5 cents per share after reporting a flattish quarter on the earnings front.

Saputo shares are up 5% today and the stock now yields 2.3%. The pay out ratio on the actual quarter's EPS was 35%.

The company was hit by lower cheese prices in the US placing downward pressure on earnings and revenues, which were still up by 6.2%. This was the first quarter for inclusion of the acquired Neilson Dairy business which was the reason for the revenue increase.

This company is always strongly affected by cheese prices as well as US/CAD exchange. They seem to be focused on growth and I think the investment provides a nice mix between growth and stability; having a staple-type product.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

a new use for dividends

Wow, the markets have been flying lately. The S&P 500 index is up 13% over the past 3 months. XDV (and ETF that tracks Canadian dividend paying stocks) is up 21% over the same period.

All this jubilation has caused me to begin to perform a behaviour that is out of character for me. It feels different from my normal long term, more savings = more investment = more dividends = more investment strategy but lately I've been letting the dividend tap run into my line of credit. That's right, I've been taking the money from dividends and interest that builds up in our investment account and using it to chip away at our investment line of credit.

Maybe it is the fact that stocks seem to go up everyday and therefore they get less attractive to me, or maybe it is because I like what it does to our net worth statement, but I'm going with my gut on this one for the time being. It's boring, it's conservative, but it feels good to reduce debt a little bit at a time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

fixing the moneygardener tech. problems

I've lost 125 subscribers and your old blogspot bookmarks won't work!

I'm not really sure what happened but the old themoneygardener.blogspot address is no longer redirecting to the new site. Also as of July 9 or so our feed was not updating regularly.

Please update your bookmarks to the new domain name and re-subscribe to the feed. The feed seems to be updating now. Hopefully this will resolve the problem.

Also bloggers and other linksters.....I would appreciate it if you would update your link to the moneygardener to the new .com address at

Thank you for reading the moneygardener.

Shoppers Drug Mart should increase their dividend

Hey Shoppers Drug Mart (SC)!

You just reported an earnings increase of 7.5% amid one of most difficult Canadian retail operating environments in a long time. How about throwing shareholders a bone and giving them a little boost to the dividend?

The quickly growing Canadian drugstore chain's dividend has been the same 21.5 cents per share since the first quarter of 2008. The company is paying out a modest 33% of earnings and the stock yields 1.8%. Could Shoppers being hoarding cash for a take over of some kind? Either way, I would urge them to continue to raise the dividend on a regular basis, to not only reward current shareholders, but to build themselves a history of strength through dividend growth. A lot of investors, whether looking into the past or the future, like to see regular dividend increases and view the incremental hikes as a sign of stability.

Shoppers has raised their dividend regularly since 2005 and is now at risk of paying out an equivalent amount in 8 straight quarters. This would mean that if they don't raise in November despite recent growth in earnings, Shoppers would essentially pay out the same dividend in 2008 and 2009. What a shame, especially for a firm that I included as part of my future of Canadian dividend growth along with Rogers Communications (RCI.B) and Tim Hortons (THI).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

market barometer

What an interesting time to be following the stock market, economic and business news, as well as corporate earnings this earnings season. This is my take on what is occurring broken down into smiles and frowns.

  • Recent results from companies like Caterpillar (CAT), CN Rail (CNI/CNR), and others showed positive signals of stabilization of the economy as well as a pick up in emerging economies.
  • Many companies are really blowing away analyst earnings estimates including industrials and technology firms. Forward earnings guidance is also being raised.
  • The S&P 500 index is up 42% from its March lows
  • New economic estimates are indicating growth is right around the corner and the recession has ended.


  • Funny thing is that earnings coming in 'not as bad' is almost always attributed to cost cutting, which can't go on forever.
  • Earnings are beating estimates, but have you noticed how low estimates are? For example Caterpillar's second quarter profit was down a whopping 66% from last year.
  • Unemployment continues to ramp up in the US and Canada and some estimates are indicating that jobless rate could top 10% soon.
  • The market is getting sick of 'not as bad' and 'stabilization' and is now searching for more in the form of growth, which may or may not come as quickly as Mr.Market wants.

Interesting stock moves lately:

  • Caterpillar (CAT) up 24% in the last five days
  • IBM (IBM) up 12% in the last five days
  • CSX Corporation (CSX) up 11% in the last five days

Monday, July 20, 2009

vancouverites are richest canadians

An interesting article appeared on today's Vancouver Ousts Calgary as Canada's Highest Net Worth City

For Canadians as whole household net worth dropped 6.2% in 2008. Our net worth dropped by pretty much that exact percentage during calendar 2008; I guess that makes us average. We live in Brantford, Ontario. In Calgary, Alberta net worths actually dropped on average by 12.3% and in Vancouver wealth dropped by only 3.1%.

Vancouver real estate prices are holding up pretty well making them the richest Canadians with an average net worth of $575,826 per household versus Calgary's $569,926 and Ontario's $354,968. British Columbians are also piling back into the stock market faster than elsewhere while Quebecers and Ontarians are socking money away in safe places.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the pricing of stocks

It is time for another question from the Personal Finance Clinic mailbag. By the way, thank you to all who submitted questions for The Personal Finance Clinic. Please visit Canadian Capitalist and Triaging My Way to Financial Success to view the balance of the Q&A.

Ellen asked;
Does it matter whether the value of my stock investments increases because of earnings or increase in value? If so, is there a rough and ready way for me to tell how much of the increase is due to earnings and how much due to price increase?

The simple answers to these two questions are 'No' and 'No'. Let me explain...

First off, you must understand that there is no value without earnings. Any increase in stock value that one might think is unrelated to earnings is a misnomer because it always comes back to earnings and earnings growth. Stock prices will always reflect investor sentiment about the future over the short term. Over the long term a stock's value should come back to reflect the true measure of a company's success, which is earnings per share (EPS). Broken down to it's bare bones, the only thing that really matters to a stock's value is earnings per share, however obviously several other factors will dramatically influence the price. If a food manufacturer just earned a great EPS number for the year but lost two major contracts due to a deadly contaminant in their product, the high EPS will matter very little as the stock is sold off hard.

For example, let's say Gusher Oil & Gas earned $4.00 per share in 2009. You might think the stock should trade for at least $32 per share or so (8x earnings), if the firm was in decent shape and was expected to grow earnings at a moderate pace. In reality Gusher could trade at $16 per share if oil prices are expected to plummet and Gusher had taken on too much high interest debt. On the flip side, Gusher could trade at $80 per share if they just discovered a new oil deposit and oil was expected to rise dramatically in the short term.

A good way to understand why stocks are priced the way they are, and why they move the way they do is to understand the sum of investor's thoughts about the company's future earnings growth potential. This is a complicated mish mash of predictions, anticipated industry trends, past performance, and expectations. At the end of the day every stock price is a guess at future earnings growth.