In December 2010, I created a screen/hypothetical portfolio called the “High Yield Dividend Champion Portfolio.” The screen is tracked publicly as a continuous hypothetical portfolio with a starting balance of $100,000 on Scott’s Investments (see the right hand column for a link to the spreadsheet).
Some studies have shown that the, highest yielding, low payout stocks perform better over time than stocks with higher payouts and lower yields.
This portfolio attempts to capture the best high yield, low payout stocks with a history of raising dividends. There are numerous ways to gauge the “best” high yield/low payout stocks. The list starts with the “Dividend Champions” as compiled by DRIP Investing. The list is comprised of stocks that have increased their dividend payout for at least 25 consecutive years.
The Dividend Champions are the starting point and we begin by ranking the top third highest yielding champions. With the remaining high yielding stocks, we will eliminate 50% with the highest payout ratio. The remaining stocks are assigned a rank based on the ratio of their dividend yield to payout ratio (the same as a trailing earnings/price ratio, or the inverse of the trailing P/E ratio). Stocks must also have a positive forward projected P/E, to eliminate stocks with no projected earnings for the next year.
For March the portfolio sold Questar (STR) at a one month gain of 1.34%. The proceeds were used to purchase Mercury General (MCY). MCY currently yields 5.55% and has a payout ratio of 69%.
The simple system I developed to create this portfolio is not without its drawbacks. When a stock is near the bottom of the rankings for yield or payout, minor fluctuations in yield or payout could put the stock in or out of the current portfolio each month. In other words, turnover could potentially be a drag on returns. One potential solution would be to rebalance the portfolio less frequently, or to give stocks more room to fall in rankings before being removed from the portfolio.
The portfolio’s hypothetical current value is $125,620, the beginning balance was $100,000 on December 6th, 2010.
The portfolio’s equity curve is below, plotted against the SPY (distributions included in both):
The top 18 rated stocks for the purposes of this portfolio’s criteria are listed below:
|Pitney Bowes Inc.||PBI||8.27||49.18||0.1682|
|Community Trust Banc.||CTBI||4.02||49.01||0.0820|
|Mercury General Corp.||MCY||5.69||69.91||0.0814|
|Tompkins Financial Corp.||TMP||3.50||45.00||0.0779|
|Eagle Financial Services||EFSI||3.80||54.96||0.0692|
|Sonoco Products Co.||SON||3.53||54.46||0.0649|
|RPM International Inc.||RPM||3.60||56.58||0.0637|
|MGE Energy Inc.||MGEE||3.49||55.65||0.0627|
|Johnson & Johnson||JNJ||3.50||65.33||0.0536|
|California Water Service||CWT||3.28||64.29||0.0510|