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The World's Best Dividend Portfolio

By Jim Royal – May 11, 2013 at 4:00AM

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The latest news on these dividend dynamos.

In June 2011, I invested my money equally in a selection of 10 high-yield dividend stocks. With a year of success behind me, in July 2012, I added even more money to the portfolio. Those names offer triple the yield of the average S&P 500 stock. You can read all the details here. Now let's check out the results so far.


Cost Basis



Total Value














National Grid






Philip Morris International (PM 0.53%)






Ryman Hospitality (RHP 1.15%)






Plum Creek Timber






Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP 1.05%)






Vodafone (VOD -1.72%)


















Retail Opportunity Investments






Annaly Preferred D (NLY 3.16%)










Dividends Receivable




Original Investment




Total Portfolio




Investment in SPY (Including Dividends)



Relative Performance (Percentage Points)



Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

The portfolio continued to perform strongly since last week. Cumulative performance is now at 25.4%, up 0.5 percentage points from before. However, we slipped against the S&P, from 2.5 down to 0.5. As usual, when the S&P goes up, the portfolio does, too, but less. So we lose ground in up markets usually. I'm continuing to hold dividends in cash -- better than a half-year's worth -- waiting for an excellent opportunity. I've been holding more cash than I normally would expecting a downturn after the runaway start to the markets this year.

The blended yield is down to 4.7%, and we have more than $300 in cash in the portfolio. May is one of the big months for dividends around here, too, so more money will be rolling in shortly.

In June, I'm going to add $2,000 in cash to the portfolio, adding money to my stash to mimic what an investor might do annually. In addition, I'll add at least two new positions, and I expect to sell at least one. As I asked last week, do you have any good dividend stocks to buy or ones from the portfolio to sell? Let me know in the comments box below. Thanks for the suggestions so far.

Brookfield Infrastructure is raising as much $341 million in capital by issuing new units to investors. The proceeds will initially be used to repay debt owed under Brookfield's credit facility, before the partnership extracts that cash for further investments. So I'd keep my eyes peeled for another infrastructure investment coming up.

Philip Morris held its annual meeting this week and reiterated its performance goals for 2013. The company expects most of its earnings growth to occur in the second half of the year, in particular the fourth quarter. The CEO reaffirmed earnings guidance of $5.55 to $5.65 per share, compared with $5.17 per share in 2012. At the midpoint that's 8% growth and implies a forward P/E of 16.7 -- not too expensive for the type of consistent performance and rising dividends that the company produces. The company expects to lose about $0.19 per share in 2013 because of unfavorable currency impacts.

While Annaly's common stock has sunk in recent weeks, its preferred stocks, Annaly Series C and Series D, have actually risen substantially above par. On Thursday's close, Series C traded at $26.40 and Series D at $26.04 -- both notably above their $25 par price. These are some of the highest-yielding preferreds on the market and the last to rise, following the trend of high-yield preferreds trading for 8%-12% above par. As these and other preferreds approach their call date, however, their price will come back down to par. That will be a while yet for the Annaly preferreds, since they were issued just last year. If the market remains fixated on yield, they could easily reach $27 per share and sit there for a few years. At that kind of price, I'd be tempted to sell.

The Vodafone-Verizon saga continues. Verizon said the priority for Verizon Wireless' cash is to pay down $5 billion in debt that matures next year, rather than pay out dividends. Investors took that as a thinly veiled threat to cut off the U.K. telecom from a payout from its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless.

Verizon continues to want to own all of Wireless but doesn't want to pay up for the privilege. With Verizon now trading at 8 times EBITDA, I don't see how CEO Lowell McAdam thinks he can pay less than that for the best component of his business, and it should be more. And now he wants to pay down debt at Wireless when interest rates are at all-time low? That's ridiculous. He should be borrowing hand over fist and locking in historically low rates -- vital for a capital-intensive industry like telecom.

With Verizon's wireline business continuing to sink, it needs Wireless more than Vodafone does. I continue to wait on Vodafone to call Verizon's bluff. This has been fascinating corporate drama so far. Fellow Fool Evan Niu has more in this article.

Dividends and earnings announcements
Here's the recent news on earnings and dividends:

Earnings news:

  • Ryman Hospitality reported record first-quarter bookings, and the company expects to achieve the property-level cost synergies of $13 million to $16 million that it had originally envisioned. It's already declared a $2 annual dividend and bought back $55.7 million of an authorized $100 million in stock. The CEO has reiterated that he will continue buying shares until the company is valued at least at the level of peers, and I like the strong move to buy back 2% of shares so far this year. And recall that the company is returning all its free cash flow to investors as either dividends or buybacks this year. I think this stock could hit $60 per share.

Dividend news:

  • Southern went ex-dividend on May 2 and pays out $0.5075 per share on June 6.
  • Exelon goes ex-dividend on May 13 and pays out $0.31 per share on June 10.
  • Seaspan goes ex-dividend on May 16 and pays out $0.3125 per share on May 30.
  • Plum Creek goes ex-dividend on May 15 and pays out $0.44 per share on May 31.

All that, of course, means more money coming into our pockets.

It's fun to sit back and get paid, and with the market volatility, we might have a good chance to reinvest those dividends at good prices. Europe continues to be an absolute mess, and continued bad news will probably have stocks plunging again. If they do, I'll be inclined to pick more shares up.

Foolish bottom line
I've been a fan of big dividends for a while, and I think this portfolio will outperform the market over time through the power of dividends. As I promised in the original article, I'll continue to track and report on the portfolio's progress, including news on these companies.

If you like dividends, consider these 12 tickers along with the nine names from a brand-new, free report from Motley Fool's expert analysts called "Secure Your Future With 9 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks." Today I invite you to download it at no cost to you. To get instant access to the names of these 9 high yielders, simply click here -- it's free.

Jim Royal, Ph.D., owns shares of the 12 portfolio stocks mentioned in the table. The Motley Fool recommends Brookfield Infrastructure, Exelon, National Grid, Retail Opportunity Investments, Seaspan, Southern, and Vodafone and owns shares of Brookfield Infrastructure, Philip Morris, Retail Opportunity Investments, Ryman Hospitality, and Seaspan. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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