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A Covered Call Trade on Microsoft

Investor sentiment turned strongly bearish recently as emerging markets were hit by both country-specific problems and the realization that the Fed’s trimmed bond-buying program reduces the liquidity that has boosted higher-yielding emerging market assets and put a floor under U.S. stock prices.

The broad selloff in emerging markets over the recent weeks translated into the worst week for global stocks in seven months. The S&P 500 slid 2.6 percent, its largest weekly decline since June 2012.  Still, the S&P 500 is just 3.1 percent below its record closing high.  If the bears stay put, then the market could pull back over the coming months.

Due to the selling on Wall Street, investors were willing to pay more for spot protection against a drop in the S&P 500.  At this time, investors are concerned a market pullback may be overdue.

Investors should consider looking at blue chip stocks with low betas, nice dividend yields and sell some calls for downside protection and additional income.  A good choice is Microsoft (MSFT) with a current dividend yield of 2.77 percent and a beta of only 0.78.  In addition, the Company just beat earnings estimate and year over year earnings.

For the fiscal second quarter ended Dec. 31, revenue rose 14% to $24.52 billion, partly reflecting the release in November of a new Xbox videogame console and a fresh version of Microsoft’s

Surface tablet computer ahead of the holidays.

Overall, net income climbed to $6.56 billion, or 78 cents a share, compared with $6.38 billion, or 76 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.  Analysts, on average, estimated Microsoft would post earnings of 68 cents a share on revenue of $23.7 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

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The company said its devices and consumer revenue grew 13% to $11.91 billion, while commercial revenue increased 10% to $12.67 billion.

On November 19, 2013 the board of directors at Microsoft had approved a dividend of $0.28 per share. The dividend is payable on March 13, 2014 to shareholders of record on February 20, 2014.

The stock has landed on the “Jefferies Highest Conviction Franchise Picks for Big Upside in 2014.”  Jeffries had this to say about Microsoft in this report, “With the Xbox One poised to be one of the fastest selling gaming consoles ever, the fourth-quarter sales for the company were outstanding. Investors are paid a very solid 3.1% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the software giant is $42.”

Last week, analysts at Deutsche Bank have upgraded their coverage of Microsoft to a Buy rating from a Hold, while raising their price target on the stock to $40 from $32 a share.

Also, Microsoft has an equity summary score of 9.4 out of 10 for a very bullish outlook according to a consensus of analysts.

Investors can look at selling a call option to get some downside protection and additional premium for income.  The basics of a covered call is that an investor can sell one call for every 100 shares of stock owned.

One potential covered call trade is to sell the March or April 2014 38 call option.  Under this scenario, your Microsoft shares will be called away if the stock price is above the strike price of 38 on March 22. So the investor is giving away the stock price upside as long as they are short the call.

However, investors will receive a call premium for each call sold.  This gives the investor downside protection to around the $36 price level.  Investors will also get the $0.28 dividend.  In total, this covered call trade with the cash dividend can potentially create a 5% return over the next 2 months.

Dividend Growth with 60% Upside

Trinity Industries (TRN) – Stock Summary

The stock pays a modest dividend yield of 1.07% but it has significant dividend growth potential in the coming years.  The Company has a 5 year average dividend growth rate of 13.40% with dividend growth of 36.36% in the last year.   The dividend will continue to grow as the EPS growth for next year is projected to be 27.23%.  EPS growth in the last quarter was 59.49% compared to the same quarter from a year earlier.  The stock has an equity summary score of 9.9 out of 10 for a VERY BULLISH outlook among analysts.  The stock is reasonable priced with a price to sales ratio of 1.07.

The stock is projected to have earnings of $5.92 in 2014.  Based on a PE of 15, the stock has a 12-month price target of $89, an increase of nearly 60% in the next year.

Trinity Industries, Inc. has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.15 per share on its $1.00 par value common stock. The quarterly cash dividend, representing Trinity’s 199th consecutively paid dividend, is payable January 31, 2014 to stockholders of record on January 15, 2014.

Recent Earnings

Trinity Industries, Inc. announced earnings results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2013, including the following significant highlights:

  • Record quarterly earnings per share of $1.26, a 58% increase year-over-year
  • Anticipates fourth quarter earnings per common diluted share of between $1.24 and $1.34 and raises full year 2013 earnings guidance to between $4.55 and $4.65
  • Rail Group receives orders for 5,610 new railcars during the third quarter resulting in a backlog of 40,050 units with a value of $5.1 billion
  • Structural wind towers business receives orders with a value of $442 million, extending production visibility through 2015
  • Company repurchases approximately 540,000 shares of its common stock during the quarter at a cost of $23.9 million
  • Available liquidity at the end of the third quarter of approximately $1.2 billion

Trinity Industries, Inc. reported net income attributable to Trinity stockholders of $99.6 million, or $1.26 per common diluted share, for the third quarter ended September 30, 2013. Net income for the same quarter of 2012 was $63.2 million, or $0.80 per common diluted share.

New Developments

Trinity Industries Inc. announced on 1/10/2014 that it  has acquired the assets of WesMor Cryogenic Companies through a newly formed subsidiary.  WesMor specializes in the manufacturing, repair, and rehabilitation of cryogenic containers that store and transport LNG and other industrial gases with initial expected annual revenues of approximately $25 million. The transaction includes the acquisition of a manufacturing facility in La Porte, Texas, and three service facilities located in La Porte; Slidell, Louisiana; and Port Washington, Ohio.

Recently, equipment finance company Element Financial Corporation (ELEEF) announced that it has entered into a strategic alliance agreement with Dallas-based Trinity Industries, Inc. (TRN) , a railcar manufacturer and lessor, to provide lease financing for up to US$2 billion worth of railcars over the next two years.  Under the terms of the Agreement, Element will be presented with “preferred opportunities” to enter into lease financings for a diversified fleet of railcars, including new railcars to be manufactured by Trinity , existing railcars from Trinity’s lease fleet as well as secondary market purchases.

Trinity Industries, Inc. recently announced that its subsidiary, Trinity Railcar Repair, Inc., has acquired the assets of Seaboard Railcar Repair (“Seaboard”). Seaboard provides a full range of services for both tank and freight railcars ranging from standard maintenance and program modifications to specialized cleaning, blasting, lining, painting, inspection and testing. The transaction includes the acquisition of two maintenance facilities located in Oklahoma and North Carolina with access to a number of major railroad interchanges. The assets and results of operations of this acquisition will be reflected in the Rail Group for financial reporting purposes.

Trinity Industries, Inc., headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a diversified industrial company that owns a variety of market-leading businesses which provide products and services to the industrial, energy, transportation, and construction sectors. Trinity reports its financial results in five principal business segments: the Rail Group, the Railcar Leasing and Management Services Group, the Inland Barge Group, the Construction Products Group, and the Energy Equipment Group.

The Right Chemistry for Growth and Income with 42% Upside Potential

What more can an income investor want than a dividend growing at 35% per year and price upside potential of 42% in the coming year.  This is exactly what is possible to owners of Celanese Corp. (NYSE: CE), a global producer of industrial chemicals.  While the current dividend yield is only 1.0%, it will likely continue to grow as EPS is projected to increase 14% in the next year.

The Company has increased its dividends by 140% in the past year and boasts of a 5-year average annual dividend growth rate of 35.1% per year.  The current payout ratio is 21.24%.  Celanese announced a 100% increase in the company’s quarterly common stock dividend on July 25, 2013.  The dividend rate increased from $0.09 to $0.18 per share of common stock on a quarterly basis and from $0.36 to $0.72 per share of common stock on an annual basis.

Celanese posted adjusted EPS of $1.20 per share in Q3, up from a $1.12 gain during the same quarter last year and beating the Capital IQ consensus by $0.05 per share.  Revenue for the manufacturer of thermoplastic polymers slid 1.0% year over year to $1.64 billion, roughly in-line with analyst forecasts.

Looking forward, CE said it expects per-share earnings to continue growing during FY14 through new products and productivity improvement.  Celanese has expanded its polyacetal manufacturing footprint in Asia through investments in joint venture projects in Malaysia, Korea, and Saudi Arabia.  The company signed manufacturing agreements with Malaysia’s Polyplastics Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd, Korea’s Korea Engineering Plastics, and Saudi Arabia’s Ibn Sina.

We think Celanese can generate above-average revenue growth from geographic expansion and the development of new applications for its products. Due to its size, CE also enjoys a cost advantage in many of its markets. We believe the engineered plastics business has solid long-term growth fundamentals, and that acetate tow remains a stable cash-generating business. Additionally, the European economy seems poised for gradual recovery in 2014.

We look for operating EPS to rise to $4.55 this year, from $3.80 in 2012. Further growth is expected in 2014, with EPS forecast to reach $5.20.   Based on a PE of 15, the 12 month target price is projected to be $78, an increase of 42% from current trading levels.  The Stock has an equity summary score of 8.6out of 10 for a Bullish outlook among analyst.

Celanese Corp. is a global producer of industrial chemicals and has the number  one or two market share in a majority of its products.  Celanese strives to focus its businesses in areas where it has a clear and sustainable competitive advantage to generate long-term earnings growth.  It also continually seeks to optimize its business portfolio to achieve industry, cost and technology leadership while expanding its product mix into higher value-added products. CE’s geographically balanced global footprint is another aspect of its strategy that should fuel future earnings growth, and its global presence is aligned with the current and expected growth of its customers.

The strong cash flow results allowed Celanese to more actively utilize their balance sheet, deploying$96 millionof cash in the quarter to purchase approximately 2 million shares.  Celanese also maintained a cash balance of$1.1 billionand net debt balance of less than$2.0 billion.

The company will cease all manufacturing operations and associated activities at the acetic anhydride plant in Roussillon and at the vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) unit in Tarragona by the end of 2013, and Celanese will proceed to decommission both facilities.

The need for these closure projects emerged from an assessment of Celanese’s overall corporate strategy, which included an assessment of the company’s global manufacturing facilities. Specifically, in support of the company’s acetyl portfolio, the manufacturing footprint strategy favors integrated production sites that provide critical economies of scale.  Celanese expects savings from these closures to be in the range of US $20-30 million in 2014.

Covered Call Trades of the Month

Investors have been bracing for anything that could reverse at the last minute the market’s year-long rally, which saw the Dow and S&P 500 hit record highs again this week. The S&P 500 is up 26 percent this year and registered a sixth week of gains on Friday.  However, income investors seeking to trade covered call investments have been performing well too.

Below are two successful trades from the past month listed in the Monthly Income Plan at getrichinvestments.com .  Each month, income investors are creating income streams from selling covered call options against high quality stocks.  Here are some winning trades from the current newsletter:

Covered Call on USG Corp (USG)

STRATEGY: Look at the Nov 27 covered call. For each 100 shares of USG stock you buy, sell one Nov 27 covered call option for a $25.50 ($26.65 – $1.15) debit or better.

Actions: USG is currently trading at $27.66 at the close on 11/15 so the 27 call we sold is ITM.  These shares and call options will be called away.

This is a 5.88% return for one month and an estimated 70% annualized return.

 

Covered Call on Flour Corp (FLR)

 

STRATEGY: Look at the November 2013 77.5 covered call. For each 100 shares of FLR stock you buy, sell one Nov 2013 77.5 covered call option for a $74.89 (77.19 – 2.30) debit or better.  That’s potentially a 3.49% assigned return.

Actions: FLR is currently trading at $79.36 so the 77.5 call we sold is ITM.  These shares and call options will be called away on Friday (11/15).

This is a 3.49% return for one month and an estimated 42% annualized return.

Order Some Special Dividends from these Stocks

Saratoga Investment Corp. (NYSE: SAR) declared a special dividend of $2.65 per share.  The dividend will be payable on December 27, 2013, to stockholders of record on November 13, 2013, with an ex-dividend date of November 8, 2013.  The annual yield on the dividend is 13.9 percent.

The dividend will be paid in cash or shares of the Company’s common stock at the election of the shareholders, although the total amount of cash to be distributed to all shareholders will be limited to approximately 20% of the total dividend to be paid to all shareholders. The remainder of the dividend (approximately 80%) will be paid in the form of shares of the Company’s common stock. This dividend is being made in accordance with certain applicable Treasury regulations and private letter rulings on cash/stock dividends issued by the IRS over the years that allow a publicly-traded regulated investment company to satisfy its distribution requirements from a distribution paid partly in common stock provided that at least 20% of the distribution is payable in cash and certain other requirements are satisfied. The dividend includes a carry-over balance of $3.9 million from the Company’s fiscal year 2013 taxable income and a significant portion of the Company’s fiscal year 2014 estimated taxable income.

Cohen & Steers, Inc. (NYSE: CNS) declared a special dividend of $1.00 per share. The dividend will be payable on December 20, 2013, to stockholders of record on December 2, 2013. The annual yield on the dividend is 2.6 percent.

Wynn Resorts Ltd (NASDAQ: WYNN) declared a special dividend of $3.00 per share.  The dividend will be payable on December 6, 2013, to stockholders of record on November 20, 2013, with an ex-dividend date of November 18, 2013.  The annual yield on the dividend is 1.8 percent.

Ameriprise offers a Total Yield Stock Play with a Growing Dividend

While income investors constantly seek out stocks with growing dividend yields, they can also benefit from share buybacks.  The share buybacks present an opportunity for investors to get capital gains in addition to current income.  Currently, 80% of S&P 500 companies are buying back shares. Combine this with dividend yield and you can get a total yield of greater than 10% in 2014.  We are presenting a series of stocks worth a look.

Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP) has a projected share buyback yield of 14% and a current dividend yield of 1.95%.  This provides investor a potential for a total yield of 15.95%.  The stock has an equity summary score of 7.9 out of 10 for a BULLISH outlook.  The stock has a 12 month price target of $104.

Ameriprise has a one-year dividend growth of 48%.  The dividend has grown from $0.35 in Q3 2012 to the current $0.52 in Q3 2013.  The 5-year average annual dividend growth rate is 25%.  AMP has a current dividend payout ratio of 36%.

Second-quarter 2013 net operating revenues were up 9%, year to year, on a 14% increase in management and advice fees and a 4% decline in net investment income.  Assets under management and administration of $703 billion were up 7% from a year earlier, helped by market appreciation.  We expect at least modest single digit annual revenue growth in 2013 and 2014, on a sustained pickup in asset inflows.  We think the Annuities segment will continue to be under pressure from the low interest rate environment in the near term, and that Annuities and Protection segment revenues will be relatively stable over the next two years, holding back the company’s overall revenue growth rate.

Balancing fund underperformance and outflows, particularly in International equities, slower-than-expected margin improvement, and AMP’s commitment to return capital to shareholders, we believe the shares are appropriately valued. We have a positive view of AMP’s focus on the growing market of affluent households.  We believe AMP is well positioned for long-term growth due to its shift toward the less capital-intensive and higher growth potential businesses of retirement planning advice and asset management, as well as a more international focus. Also, further economies of scale should be realized as integration of Columbia Management was nearly completed in 2012.

This Company is Offering a 9.3% Special Dividend

Viad Corp (NYSE: VVI) announced that its Board of Directors declared a special cash dividend of $2.50 per share for shareholders of record at the close of business on November 7, payable on November 14.  This is a 9.3% dividend yield on this payout at current stock prices.

Its Board also expects to declare an additional special cash dividend of $1.50 per share, payable in January.

Analyst consensus has Viad growing EPS by 34% to $1.71 per share in 2014.  Based on this projected EPS, Viad has a 12-month price target of $30.00.  First Call has a strong buy recommendation on Viad Corp.

Viad Corp. is comprised of operating companies and a division which constitute a diversified services business. Most of Viad’s services are provided to businesses for use by their customers. Accordingly, the corporation markets its services through retail and financial locations, primarily in the U.S., to numerous trade show organizers and exhibitors, and others.

Viad Corp announced third quarter 2013 income from continuing operations of $10.8 million, or $0.53 per diluted share.  Viad’s income before other items of $14.1 million, or $0.69 per diluted share, excludes restructuring charges of $0.02 per diluted share and non-cash impairment charges of $0.14 per diluted share. This compares to the company’s prior guidance of income before other items in the range of $0.54 to $0.64 per share and 2012 third quarter income before other items of $1.01 per share. The expected decline from 2012 was driven primarily by negative show rotation in the Marketing & Events Group.

  • Revenue was $236.5 million as compared to $307.5 million in 2012.
  • Segment operating income was $24.6 million as compared to $34.2 million in 2012.
  • Free cash flow was $21.8 million as compared to $45.2 million in 2012.
  • Cash and cash equivalents were $120.1 million at September 30, 2013.
  • Debt was $1.7 million, with a debt-to-capital ratio of 0.4% at September 30, 2013.

Pfizer offers a Total Yield Stock Play with an Increasing Dividend Payout

While income investors constantly seek out stocks with growing dividend yields, they can also benefit from share buybacks.  The share buybacks present an opportunity for investors to get capital gains in addition to current income.  Currently, 80% of S&P 500 companies are buying back shares. Combine this with dividend yield and you can get a total yield of greater than 10% in 2014.  We are presenting a series of stocks worth a look.

Pfizer (PFE) has a projected share buyback yield of 14% and a current dividend yield of 3.49%.  This provides investor a potential for a total yield of 18.2%.  The stock has a 12 month price target of $33.

Investors were pleased to hear that the company intends to increase its dividend payout ratio to 40% (from 33%) by the end of 2013. The company returned about $15 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buybacks in 2012. Pfizer intends to use the proceeds from the sale of the Nutrition business on additional share repurchases and other value creating opportunities.

On 7/30/2013, the Board of Directors authorized a new$10 billion share repurchase program to be utilized over time. This new program is in addition to the$3.1 billion of authorization currently remaining under the previous share repurchase program.

Pfizer posted second quarter 2013 earnings of $0.56 per share, 5% below the year-ago earnings. Revenues, which fell 7% to $12.9 billion, missed the Consensus Estimate of $13.1 billion. Revenue growth was impacted by the loss of exclusivity of certain products and purchasing patterns for Prevnar/Prevenar in some markets.  Pfizer maintained its outlook for 2013. Revenues will be hit by genericization and the expiration of a few co-promotion agreements. The company s pipeline needs to deliver given the Lipitor loss of exclusivity and the upcoming loss of exclusivity on additional products in the next few years.

We expect revenues in 2013 to decline about 12%, primarily reflecting the classification of the animal health business (divested in June 2013) as a discontinued operation. We also project lower sales of established drugs, largely due to ongoing generic erosion in off-patent Lipitor, Detrol and Xalatan, as well as the expiration of certain co-promotion agreements.  However, we project continued gains in Lyrica muscle pain therapy and Celebrex arthritis treatment. We also forecast good growth from emerging markets, new oncology agents such as Xalkori and Inlyta, and from the recent launches of Xeljanz and Eliquis.

In July 2013, PFE announced plans to internally separate into three distinct business segments, two innovative units and one value business.  The first innovative unit will comprise drugs with patent exclusivities beyond 2015. The second innovative segment will include vaccines, oncology agents, and consumer healthcare.  The third value unit will consist of mature drugs, and joint venture products. We believe the new structure should provide investors greater transparency of PFE’s different businesses, and represents a prelude for a potential eventual split-up of Pfizer into three separate firms.

Look at Pentair as a Total Yield Stock Play

While income investors constantly seek out stocks with growing dividend yields, they can also benefit from share buybacks.  The share buybacks present an opportunity for investors to get capital gains in addition to current income.  Currently, 80% of S&P 500 companies are buying back shares. Combine this with dividend yield and you can get a total yield of greater than 10% in 2014.  We are presenting a series of stocks worth a look.

Pentair (PNR) has a projected share buyback yield of 22% and a current dividend yield of 1.47%.  This provides investor a potential for a total yield of 23.47%.  The stock has a 12 month price target of $70.

Pentair Ltd. recently announced that it will pay a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 per share on November 8, 2013 to shareholders of record at the close of business on October 25, 2013. Pentair had previously announced on April 29, 2013 the approval by its shareholders of an ordinary cash dividend of $1.00 per share to be paid out of Pentair’s capital contribution reserve in four equal quarterly installments of $0.25 in each of the third and fourth quarters of 2013 and the first and second quarters of 2014. Pentair has increased its dividend for 37 consecutive years.

Pentair paid dividends totaling $0.88 per share in 2012. Pentair paid dividends of $0.23 per share in each of the first and second quarters of 2013 and $0.25 per share in the third quarter of 2013.

Pentair (PNR) is a global diversified industrial company, which makes and markets water and flow control devices and electrical and electronic enclosures, recently doubled in size after merging with Tyco’s flow control unit.

We project close to 3% organic sales growth in 2013, driven by the water & fluid solutions segment and, to a lesser extent, valves & controls, while technical solutions remains soft. We see favorable trends continuing in global energy (oil & gas and mining), food & beverage and North American residential, with more modest growth in emerging regions. PNR should benefit globally from its expanded distribution via its merger with the Tyco Flow Control unit. We still see headwinds in Western Europe.

We expect gross margins to expand by at least 0.5% in 2013 to above 33%, on supply chain and repositioning cost savings, and a more favorable mix, while commodity input costs remain generally stable. We see adjusted EBITDA margins widening by more than 160 basis points to near 16.5% in 2013, reflecting volume leverage and improved productivity, and $105 million in cost synergies.

Look for a Tasty Profit from this High Quality Dividend Grower

Investors looking for an A-rated quality company with a growing 3% dividend yield should look at the soup favorite – Campbell Soup Company.  The company just increased its dividend 7.6% but still has room for growth.  Campbell’s is rated a 5-star stock by S&P indicating a strong buy recommendation.  The stock has a 12-month price target of $48, an increase of 15% from its current price.

Campbell Soup Company (CPB) recently announced that the company’s Board of Directors has approved an increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.29 per share to $0.312 per share, an increase of approximately 7.6%.  The quarterly dividend is payable Oct. 28, 2013 to shareholders of record at the close of business Oct. 8, 2013.

“This dividend increase is another step forward as we execute our plans to drive shareholder value by delivering sustainable, profitable net sales growth,” said Denise Morrison, Campbell’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are encouraged by the progress we’ve made and are confident in our long-term growth prospects as we strengthen our core business and expand into higher-growth spaces.”

The company has paid dividends since it became public in 1954. The last quarterly dividend increase was to $0.29 per share from $0.275 per share on Nov. 1, 2010.

We look for Campbell’s to focus on new products, expanding its presence in packaged fresh foods, and growing sales in some international markets.  We expect at least near-term challenges in U.S. beverage, North American foodservice, and the Australian businesses.

The company has long term targets for annual sales growth of 3% to 4% and 5% to 7% annual growth in earnings per share. Over time, we expect that growth to be helped by new or enhanced products. Areas of new product focus, in our view, will include expansion of the Goldfish snack brand, development of the dinner sauce category, and introduction of a Homestyle soup line. We see the Bolthouse business aiming to have more of a presence in the snack food area with a ShakeDowns carrot product that includes seasonings.

Investors should look to add Campbell’s to their Monthly Income Plan for both current income and future growth.

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