ECB, Fed in Focus This Week

Last week was rather eventful, with Europe once again providing the catalyst. Early in the week, concerns about the eurozone sent stocks lower. However, by the close on Friday, the Dow was above 13,000.

The change in sentiment was brought on by the announcement by ECB President Mario Draghi that the European Central Bank stands ready to do whatever was necessary — and within the ECB mandate — to save the euro. As a result, the speculation is that moves might be made to bring down Spanish and Italian bond yields.

Once again, Germany offers a bit of a setback, insisting that the EU treaty doesn’t allow for a banking license to be given to the European Stability Mechanism. There had been hopes that the ESM would be provided a banking license and the ability to directly intervene with eurozone banks. However, that hope is fading. While pledging to support the euro politically, German officials have shied away from promising financial support.

Even so, Draghi’s confident words spurred market higher. It appears that eurozone leaders want to save the euro, and investors are starting to think that they may actually be ready to do what is necessary.

What about the Fed Meeting?

A Fed meeting is coming up as well. The recent news that real GDP growth in 2012 Quarter 2 was 1.5% is of great interest to many right now. The numbers represent a slowing from the revised first quarter growth of 2%.

Speculation is starting, once again, that QE3 could be around the corner. There is the possibility that the members of the FOMC could decide that the slowing economic growth could be grounds for more stimulus. Since investors would welcome more economic stimulus, the idea of QE3 is causing excitement, and is another factor to consider.

It is clear that there is a lot happening right now, and a lot to look forward to this week.  Even though earnings have been lackluster, they aren’t having a huge impact on the markets. There is just too much going on with Europe, and too much speculation related to what’s next for the US economy.

There is a certain amount of exuberance right now. However, investors should be on the look out. Just as equities have shot up so quickly, the prices could just as easily collapse again. There is a lot of volatility in the equity markets, as well as other markets, right now, and bad news could cause a change in the situation quite quickly.

5 High-Yield Dividend that Stocks Go Ex-Dividend July 30 – August 3

It’s always interesting to look for well-known dividend stocks. Often, the well-known stocks can be counted on for solid performance, even if they aren’t glamorous. If you are looking for some well-known stocks, of known brands, here are 5 high-yield dividend stocks going ex-dividend next week:

Hasbro Inc. (HAS)

Ex-Dividend Date: July 30

Well-known toymaker Hasbro has provided regular performance over the years. Thanks to movies like Transformers, and the merchandise that go with them, Hasbro has been doing reasonably well. Right now, the dividend yield is 3.60%, with a payout ratio of 46.00%. The five-year average for HAS is 2.60%, and the three-year average growth rate is 16.59%. HAS has been paying dividends since 1981, and has eight years of consecutive increases.

Bank of Montreal (BMO)

Ex-Dividend Date: July 30

If you are looking for a little Canadian diversification in your dividend portfolio, the Bank of Montreal might not be a bad choice. The well-known bank is also Canada’s oldest bank, and the the largest bank in Canada by deposits. The current dividend yield is 5.00%, with a five-year average of 5.10%. The payout ratio is is 53.00%, and the three-year growth average is 0.00%. There have been no consecutive increases, but BMO has been paying dividends since 1829.

Pfizer (PFE)

Ex-Dividend Date: August 1

Drug maker Pfizer is set to go ex-dividend last week. The well-known pharma and biotech company offers a dividend yield of 3.60%, and a five-year average yield of 5.10%. The three-year average dividend growth rate is -5.66%, and the current payout ratio is 68.00%. There has been one consecutive increase, and dividends have been paid out since 1901.

Tesoro Logistics LP (TLLP)

Ex-Dividend Date: August 1

Tesoro Logistics is related to Tesoro Corporation. Indeed, Tesoro formed the LP in 2011 as a way to manage logistics assets. Tesoro is a well-known energy company, specializing in oil and gas. The Logistics side is expected to continue acquiring and developing crude oil, and other refined products. The current dividend yield is 3.60%. Because TLLP was only formed in 2011, there is no information on five-year or three-year trends. The current payout ratio is 90.00%. There have been no dividend increases, but TLLP has been paying out since last year, when it was formed.

BCB Bancorp (BCBP)

Ex-Dividend Date: August 2

This is one of those financial companies that we hear so much about. BCBP provides banking and savings products to consumers. The current dividend yield is 4.70%, and the five-year average is 4.40%. The payout ratio is 79.00%, and the three-year dividend growth average is 1.45%. There have been no consecutive dividend increases, and BCBP has been paying dividends since 2006.


Brace Yourself for a Wave of Earnings this Week

After a good start to last week, the markets faltered and then fell on Friday. Concerns about Europe will likely continue to be a real factor in market performances. One of last week’s issues was the fact that, in spite of an agreement on a Spanish bailout, bond yields continued to rise in Spain. Worries that Spain will be unable to refinance its debt in an affordable and sustainable matter are weighing on markets.

This week, though, European problems are likely to fade to the background — at least for a little while. A wave of earnings data is coming from US companies, with 172 S&P 500 index companies reporting, and one-third of the Dow Jones Industrial Average index companies reporting. Among the companies reporting next week are heavy-hitting bellwethers Apple (AAPL), Ford (F), UPS (UPS), AT&T (T), Pepsi (PEP), Visa (V), Amazon (AMZN) and McDonald’s (MCD).

What Will Earnings News Tell Us?

So far, the 2012 second quarter earnings season has been a bit lackluster. While the most of the companies so far have beaten consensus estimates, less than half have reported sales above forecasts. This news is somewhat discouraging, and there are worries that this coming week will be more of the same.

One of the main culprits is the relatively strong dollar. Businesses with large international markets are struggling because their revenue in other currencies — especially the euro — is worth less because of a fairly strong greenback. Many of the companies revealing their second quarter results will provide some insight into what’s happening around the world in terms of the economy.

Companies like McDonald’s and Apple are sensitive to developments around the world, and their bottom lines are also impacted by the slowing global economy. If emerging markets like China are slowing (and China just released its slowest quarterly growth figures in three years), it means that the global economy could be sliding. Some of the reports coming could underscore slowing foreign sales — as well as slowing domestic sales — and indicate whether or not we could see more bumps on the road to economic recovery.

And, of course, while the Facebook (FB) earnings won’t provide great insights into the state of the global economy, many people are interested in the results. Facebook’s first quarterly report will be released on Thursday, and there is a lot of curiosity surrounding it. FB has been struggling since its IPO, and it will be interesting to see whether the report shows any progress, and whether spokespeople will address mobile advertising.

It should be an interesting week ahead, and there are plenty of reports to look forward.

5 High Yield Dividend Stocks Go Ex-Dividend July 23-27

High yield dividend stocks offer a chance for investors to earn money through regular dividend payments, as well as through capital appreciation. High yield dividend stocks can offer the chance for regular income. If you want to get in on some of the high yield dividend stocks now, here are some ex-dividend dates for next week:

QR Energy LP (QRE)

Ex-Dividend Date: July 26

QR Energy is an extraction and production company, focusing on oil and natural gas. The company owns a number of mature, legacy properties, and specializes in onshore extraction. The current dividend yield is 9.70%, with a payout ratio of 413.00%. There is no three-year or five-year data because the company has only paid dividends since 2011, and there has yet to be a consecutive dividend increase.

NiSource (NI)

Ex-Dividend Date: July 27

NiSource features a portfolio of regulated energy businesses, including natural gas and electricity. The company claims good environmental stewardship, and has a reach that extends from Texas, up through the Midwest, and into New England. The current dividend yield is 3.60%, with a five-year average of 5.30%. The three-year average growth rate is 0.00%, and the current payout ratio is 94.00%. NiSource has been paying dividends since 1987. There have been no consecutive increases.

Whitestone REIT (WSR)

Ex-Dividend Date: July 27

Whitestone REIT specializes in owning and operating Community Centered Properties. These are properties located near culturally diverse neighborhoods. The current dividend yield is 8.30%, the payout ratio is 760.00%. There is no three-year and five-year data, since the company started paying dividends in 2010. However, there has been one consecutive dividend increase.

Student Transportation (STB)

Ex-Dividend Date: July 27

Here’s an interesting choice: Student Transportation provides transportation to school districts in several states, as well as the Canadian province Ontario. Right now, the dividend yield is 7.70%, with a five-year yield average of 10.60%. The three-year growth average growth rate is 0.00%. Some investors might be concerned, however, about the huge payout ratio, which is currently at 1,854.00%. STB has been paying dividends since 2006, and there have been no consecutive dividend increases.

Full Circle Capital Corp (FULL)

Ex-Dividend Date: July 27

Full Circle Capital is an investment company that focuses mainly on smaller and lower middle-market companies. The company invests in mezzanine loans, senior secured loans based on assets, and equity securities. There are a number of companies invested in, across a variety of industries. The current dividend yield is 11.50%. Because dividends have only been paid since 2010, there is no three-year and five-year information. There has been one consecutive dividend increase.

Stanley Black & Decker Makes It 45 Years of Consecutive Dividend Increases

Big news from Stanley Black & Decker today. The company has announced that it will raise its quarterly dividend to $.49 per share, up from $.41. This 19% increase in dividends marks the 45th consecutive year that the company has raised its dividend. There are very few companies that have increased its dividend for 45 years but even fewer that increase it by such a high percentage at this stage in the game.

Only one thing now stands between SWK and our top 100 dividend stock list, performance. Over the last 12 months the stock is down 7%. Investors are reacting to the news of the dividend hike very strongly today sending the stock up more than 3%. This dividend hike is a sign to many investors that the company feels strongly about its ability to produce solid returns.

Here is a quick look at the 10 year dividend history for Stanley Black & Decker:

Dividend Fundamentals

Stanley Black & Decker has a dividend yield of 3.1% which is above its 5 year average of 2.7% which adds to the case for a value investment at these levels. SWK has a 3 year dividend growth rate of 13.9% and as previously stated, has increased its dividend for 45 consecutive years. The payout ratio is 44%. The company has a market cap of $10.8B and a P/E Ratio of 16.3. It has a strong cash flow yield of 5.3% and a three year income growth rate of 30%.

Mattel (MAT) Maintains High Yield

Mattel announced today that the company will pay its third straight quarterly dividend of $0.31 per share. The dividend will be payable on September 21st with an ex-dividend date of August 27th. This maintains the 3.5% dividend yield on the stock MAT. Investors must own the stock at the close of trading the day before the ex-dividend date to qualify to receive the dividend.

Dividend Fundamentals

Mattel converted to quarterly dividend payouts in 2011. Previously the company paid dividends annually. It started paying dividends in 1990 and has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years. Mattel has a three year dividend growth rate of 18% and a payout ratio of just 50%. The free cash flow yield is an exceptional 6.2%.

About Mattel

Mattel manufactures and sells children’s toys and products. The stock has been on a tear in the last 12 months rising over 24%. Mattel has a market cap of $11.6B and a P/E ratio of 15.6. The stock is ranked number 8 on our 100 best dividend stock list. For more information on Mattel and other consumer product dividend stocks visit our dividend consumer page.

Earnings News and China Provide Points of Interest this Week

Last week was fairly depressing — until Friday, of course. On Friday, everyone suddenly decided they were feeling pretty good about things and stocks rallied. A lot. Good news in the form of financial earnings helped out, as well as speculation about China. And it also helped that US economic wasn’t horrible.

US economic data showed signs of slow, but sure, economic recovery. Jobless claims dropped again, albeit modestly, and wholesale prices edged up. Overall, wholesale prices for June were up 0.1%. Without food and energy, they were up 0.2%. The difference is attributed to drops in energy prices. Since there are those that think high energy prices have been one of things stymieing the economy, the fact that energy prices are easing is somewhat encouraging.

On tap for this week is more second quarter earnings news. Stocks reacted favorably to some of the financial stock news at the end of last week. One of the biggest pleasant surprises was JP Morgan Chase. The company posted better than expected earnings — even after the losses caused by the London Whale. Be watching for more earnings data this week, since it could influence the direction of the markets.

Even the recent LIBOR debacle was largely overlooked by the markets as bulls rushed to make up for days of gloom.

Will China Add More Stimulus?

Another consideration is China. There is speculation that China is ready to add more economic stimulus to its economy. The news was greeted with a measure of enthusiasm from those who are hoping that the Chinese can lead us out of the global economic doldrums. There are still concerns about China, though. News that China’s reserves aren’t expanding by as much as some worried. However, the recent interest rate cut by the People’s Bank of China, and expectations that China will do more to prop its economy, are helping the situation.

Europe has managed to move to the back burner for now. The German Constitutional Court is reviewing the latest suggested changes to the European Stability Mechanism (the bailout fund), and trying to decide if they jive with German law. The Court has so far refused to rubber-stamp the changes, and could throw up roadblocks in the efforts to form a tighter banking union in the eurozone.

For now, though, those issues are by the by. However, things could change rapidly. Investor attention has been held by Europe for months now; it’s likely that the recent break from obsessing about Europe is just that — a break. There are plenty of other hurdles to overcome, and the eurozone could easily move back into the spotlight.

4 High Yield Dividend Stocks Going Ex-Dividend July 16-20

In terms of ex-dividend dates, next week isn’t very busy — at least not with high yield dividend stocks. There are some options, though. They are fairly solid, and they have somewhat mediocre dividend yields when compared with some of the exciting stocks that went ex-dividend earlier this week. However, the following for dividend stocks all have yields above 3%:

Comtech Telecomm (CMTL)

Ex-Dividend Date: July 18

Rather than providing telecommunications services, Comtech Telecomm is actually a manufacturer. The company designs and develops different products, as well as making them and marketing them. Comtech specializes in telcommunications transmissions, RF microwave amplifiers, and mobile data communications. CMTL has a dividend yield of 3.70% and a payout ratio of 74.00%. Since the company has only been paying dividends since 2010, there is no information on five-year average yield, or the three-year growth rate. There has been one consecutive dividend increae.

A. Schulman Inc. (SHLM)

Ex-Dividend Date: July 18

A. Schulman is all about the custom chemicals. The company specializes in creating custom compounds that can be used for a number of different functions, in a number of different industries. From antimichrobials to special nylon alternatives, A. Schulman offers designer materials and chemicals. The current dividend yield is 3.10%, with a five-year average yield of 2.90%. The three-year average dividend growth rate is 4.63%. The current payout ration is 44.00%. There have been five consecutive dividend increases, and SHLM has been paying dividends since 1990.

Maint Street Capital Corp (MAIN)

Ex-Dividend Date: July 18

Maint Street Capital Corp provides funding to middle market companies. For the most part, the investment firm specializes in long-term debt and equity capital. The companies MAIN works with span various sectors and industries. A lot of the funding is used for management buyouts, growth, refinancing, acquisition, and recapitalization. The idea is to provide alternative financing options. The current dividend yield is 6.70%, with a five-year average of 8.90%. The payout ratio is 91.00%, and the three-year average growth rate is 0.69%. MAIN has been paying dividends since 2007, and there has been one consecutive year of dividend increase.

Friedman Industries (FRD)

Ex-Dividend Date: July 18

Friedman Industries is a steel company that traces its roots to a business founded in 1939. The company specializes in the process and distribution of hot-rolled steel coils, as well as manufacturing and distributing steel pipe. The current dividend yield is 5.20%, and the five-year average yield is 4.90%. There is a dividend payout ratio of 39.00%, and a three-year growth rate of 392.71%. FRD has been paying dividends since 1990, and there have been no consecutive dividend increases.

3 REITs Maintaining High Yields

Three different real estate investment trusts announced new dividend payouts. Each company has maintained a very high yield through recent years. Lets examine the dividend history and prospective growth of each REIT.

Hospitality Properties Trust (HPT)

Hospitality Properties announce a dividend of $0.45 per share that will be payable on August 22nd with an ex-dividend date of July 27th. This will be the company’s 12th consecutive quarterly dividend payout of $.45 per share since it suspended its dividend in 2009. Dividend growth has been lacking at the company which started paying dividends in 1995. The bright shining start for HPT is the 3 year net income growth rate of 15%. HPT has a dividend yield of 7.2%.

Here’s 10 year dividend history chart.

UMH Properties (UMH)

UMH Properties announced a dividend of $0.18 per share which will be payable on September 17th with an ex-dividend date of August 13th. UMH has a dividend yield of 6.4%. The company has been paying the same $.18 quarterly dividend since it cuts its dividend in 2008. UMH has a 3 year net income growth rate of 34%.

Below is a 10 year dividend history chart for UMH

CommonWealth REIT (CWH)

CommonWealth REIT announced a quarterly dividend of $0.50 per share payable on August 24th with an ex-dividend date of July 24th. Commonwealth started paying dividends to shareholders in 2010 and has not increased its dividend since it started paying dividends. We won’t show a chart for CWH, just picture a short flat line.

Let’s go REITs!

Each of these companies has been able to maintain its dividend but is showing no sign of dividend growth. Income is rising but dividends are holding steady.

Economic Concerns Once Again Dominate Markets

Once again, economic concerns are dominating the markets. Last week, trading was a little stifled because of the mid-week break for the Independence Day holiday, but there was plenty of data for investors to chew over. And, indeed, after the end of the week we just had, there is plenty left to chew.

Central Bank Decisions

The European Central Bank cut its benchmark rate to 0.75% from 1%. Even during the global financial crisis, and the fallout, the ECB refused to cut rates to below 1%.  The decision to do so now is rather telling. Even with the concerns, though, ECB President Mario Draghi insists that there haven’t been discussions for quantitative easing. Spanish bond yields ended last week by shooting upward through the roof. Once again, sovereign debt is center stage in eurozone concerns.

The Bank of England didn’t cut its rate, but it did expand the asset purchase program. The BOE announced that it would add another 50 billion pounds to the program, using quantitative easing in an effort to stimulate the British economy. The economy in Britain continues to move at a sluggish pace, yet inflation is still a problem. BOE officials continue to try to balance the need for stimulus with a desire to keep inflation from running out of control.

And, in a surprise move, the People’s Bank of China cut its own rate as well. Signs of a slowing Chinese economy are damping hopes that the emerging market economy will lead the global economy out of the doldrums. Instead, there are worries that another global recession could be in the offing.

US Economic Data

While there was some decent news in terms of factory orders, US economic data continues to present a deteriorating picture. One of the biggest disappointments this week was the June non-farm payrolls. Even though the economy added 80,000 jobs, it was still short of the 100,000 expected by analysts. The news closes out a disappointing second quarter, with an average gain of 75,000 jobs each month, down drastically from the 226,000 average seen in the first quarter of 2012.

Concerns about the sluggish jobs market continue to weigh on the US economy, and there are very real concerns about what could be next. The US stock market, reacting to all this disappointing news, ended the week in a rout, and investors are trying to pick up the pieces this morning. What’s happening in Europe, as well as the release of second quarter earnings data from US companies are likely to dominate the markets this week.