$10,000 Investing Returns in 15 Monthshttp://www.fool.com/investing/dividends-income/2014/03/01/10000-investing-returns-in-15-months.aspx Chuck Saletta
March 1, 2014
The real-money Inflation-Protected Income Growth portfolio passed an important milestone since last week's update, reaching $10,000 in investing returns since its December 2012 launch. As of this Friday's close, the IPIG portfolio was worth $40,415.42, about $10,400 ahead of the $30,000 it started with.
While $10,000 in returns represents a nice and psychologically interesting round number, the reality is that it's just as meaningless as the celebrations over Dow 10,000 when that index crossed that mark. For one thing, that total return benchmarks as about average since the portfolio's launch. The following table compares the IPIG portfolio's returns with the S&P 500 index and to the Spiders (NYSEMKT: SPY), a low-cost ETF that tracks that index and includes dividend payments:
What really counts
Two IPIG selections stand out in February for their dividend performance -- toymaker Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) and delivery titan UPS (NYSE: UPS). Both companies had troubles during the all-important holiday shopping season, but both managed to deliver solid dividend increases this February.
Hasbro's 2013 holiday quarter earning came in almost 7% below its 2012 holiday quarter -- and virtually 9% below expectations. For a toy company, there's not much more important than being there to help Santa Claus on his annual journey. Hasbro could have used that earnings miss as a reason to hold off from increasing its dividend. Instead, it declared a $0.43 dividend, a 7.5% increase from its $0.40 prior dividend.
UPS also failed to deliver over the holiday season -- literally. Its network got overloaded by a last-minute surge in demand, which caused it to miss delivering some goodies in time for Christmas. In spite of that slip-up, UPS managed to increase its quarterly dividend in February to $0.67, up 8% from the $0.62 it had paid previously.
Time -- and ongoing results -- will tell whether UPS and Hasbro can continue to pay and increase their dividends. Still, the fact remains that both companies undertook the effort and expense to raise those payments in spite of their recent troubles. If nothing else, those increases in tough times should show the potential of a dividend-growth oriented strategy to shine when things are going well.
Indeed, Wells Fargo has already declared its intent to seek permission from the Federal Reserve to increase its dividend in 2014. While dividends are never guaranteed, Wells Fargo's public declaration is a signal of its confidence in its ability to deliver an increase.
While Scotts Miracle-Gro hasn't been so bold as to project a dividend increase, it did recently indicate that it believes itself to be on track for a solid 2014. As a lawn and garden company, its strong season should be coming up soon as spring and summer approach. Still, the company's projection that it will earn between $3.05 and $3.20 for its fiscal year 2014 puts it on track to beat its fiscal year 2013 operating earnings. That suggests that the company at least will have the potential to provide an increase in 2014
Together, they're a portfolio that delivers