The Dogs of the Dow Beat Their Index This Week

"Dogs of the Dow" is the name of one of the simplest dividend strategies for beating the market. Over the coming year, I'll track the Dogs' performance and keep you abreast of news affecting these companies.

The strategy
The Dogs is an investing strategy that buys and holds equal dollar amounts of the 10 best-yielding dividend stocks of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) . The strategy banks on the idea that blue-chip stocks with high yields are near the bottom of their business cycle and should do much better going forward. Investors in the strategy then would get not only large dividends but also gains in the stocks underlying those dividends.

High-yield dividends
High-yield portfolios are often dismissed as inferior to their growth counterparts for various reasons:

  • Many people fear that increasing dividend yields mean lower portfolio returns.
  • Others believe that dividend payments mean that management believes the business is done growing.

Evidence compiled by Tweedy Browne refutes these falsehoods. Research shows that portfolios of high-yield dividend stocks outperform lower-yielding portfolios and the market in general. In fact, a study by noted finance professor Jeremy Siegel found that over 45 years, the highest-yielding 20% of S&P 500 stocks outperformed the S&P 500 by three times! The highest-yielding stocks turned a $1,000 investment in 1957 into $462,750 by 2002, compared with $130,768 if the same money was invested in the index.

Performance
After beating the Dow by 6.8% in 2011, the Dogs underperformed the Dow by 0.2% in 2012.

Check out the Dogs' performance in 2013 so far:

Company

Initial Yield

Initial Price

YTD Performance

AT&T

5.34%

$33.71

17.33%

Verizon

4.76%

$43.27

20.15%

Intel 

4.36%

$20.62

6.23%

Merck

4.20%

$40.94

16.18%

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  )

3.83%

$25.08

23.37%

DuPont 

3.82%

$44.98

11.75%

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  )

3.72%

$14.25

47.60%

General Electric 

3.62%

$20.99

12.68%

McDonald's 

3.49%

$88.21

18.39%

Johnson & Johnson 

3.48%

$70.10

18.98%

Dow Jones Industrial Average

 

13,104

13.44%

Dogs of the Dow

   

19.27%

Dogs Return vs. Dow (Percentage Points)

   

+5.83%

Source: S&P Capital IQ as of April 12.

This week the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 2.06%. The Dogs rose more than the Dow, moving up 2.32 percentage points. That brings the Dogs' outperformance up to 5.83 percentage points better than the Dow.

The big news affecting the Dow this week was the release of the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's March 20 meeting. The minutes were to be released at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday but instead came before the market open after it was discovered a staffer had accidentally sent out an email to congressional staffers and lobbyists early with details of the release.

The minutes revealed that there was disagreement over the continued asset purchases under QE3 and that committee members were unsure how fiscal policies would affect the economy. The committee is expected to continue QE3 until there is inflation above 2% or the jobs market significantly strengthens to the point where the unemployment rate is just 6.5%.

The other piece of news this weak was weaker-than-expected retail sales. In March, retail sales dropped 0.4%, the worst in nine months and down from February's 1% growth. With the unemployment rate at 7.6%, a weak jobs market, and poor retail sales, I expect the Federal Reserve to stick with its stated policy moving forward, which should continue to juice asset prices.

Movers and shakers
The biggest mover up this past week among the Dogs was Pfizer, rising 5.40%. On Thursday, Pfizer announced that the FDA designated its palbociclib treatment for breast cancer as a breakthrough drug, which should put it on the fast track for development and review.

The biggest mover down this past week was Hewlett-Packard, which fell 4.87%. HP and other tech stocks plummeted after research firm IDC reported that in the first quarter of 2013, worldwide PC shipments dropped 14% from the year before. IDC attributed the decline to the rise in tablets and smartphones, as well as consumers' dismissal of Windows 8 so far. The PC market's woes give credence to Goldman Sachs' call that Hewlett-Packard stock had risen too high, given the long-term nature of turnarounds and the challenges PC manufacturers are facing.

More dividends
If you're looking for some long-term investing ideas, you're invited to check out The Motley Fool's brand-new special report, "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need." It's absolutely free, so simply click here now and get your copy today.


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