Portfolio Thoughts (Dec. 2017)

Once again, it’s time to examine the dividend Portfolio and see what I might do to improve it.  Let’s find out what’s working, what’s not, and what stocks are on the purchase radar.

I usually start with reviewing buys and sells, but the past month has not seen any transactions in the portfolio.  I’ve been content to watch from the sidelines as life got a little busier with the holidays.  Turning the calendar to 2018 will probably result in some new activity.

Portfolio stocks on the rise this past month have been AL, CAH, TGT and UNP.  AL has had a nice climb from about $42 to $48, regaining the largest $ position in the portfolio from QCOM.  Meanwhile, CAH and TGT have nicely recovered some from their recent lows (over 10% each), hopefully signaling that their respective price drops are over.  UNP has had a significant price surge as well, from $116 to $134.  There were several other gainers, too, but this group stood out.

The laggards this past month aren’t as numerous as last, but there always tend to be a few each month.  The list once again begins with utility SCANA (SCG), which continues to deal with issues related to a cancelled nuclear power plant project.  The stock price continues its decent, from the low $40s to the upper $30s.  Speculation is rampant with regard to how things will play out.  A sale from my portfolio is not out of the question prior to the end of 2017.  I’d sell for tax loss harvesting purposes, and invest the proceeds elsewhere.  Also falling in price was Skyworks Solutions (SWKS), with a drop from $110 to the mid $90s.  SWKS is often tied to the fate of Apple (AAPL), as it sells quite a bit of its product to them.  Recent worries about iPhone 10 sales have weighed on SWKS.  Finally, REIT Crown Castle Intl. (CCI) has drooped in price.  Nothing to get excited about here, just a pull-back from recent highs it posted over the last quarter.

When it comes to adding to my existing positions, SWKS has peaked my interest due to it recent price decline.  If it reached the low $90s I’d consider adding more.  As you may know, I’ve been looking to increase my technology holdings, and I’d certainly consider adding more SWKS even though it’s already one of the larger positions in the portfolio.  Cardinal Health is also still on my shopping list, despite its recent price recovery.  Even in the current $62-$63 range, an additional purchase would result in a decent drop to my average cost per share.

Two non-portfolio stocks that were on my radar from last month, The Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) and Williams Sonoma (WSM), have risen over the past month to the point that they’ll get less near-term attention.  Most recently I’ve been watching Comcast (CMCSA), which is a global media and technology company.  Its two primary businesses are Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal, with the cable business resulting in the largest portion of sales and earnings.  The cable business includes video, voice, high-speed internet and business services.  The NBCUniversal business includes broadcast and cable networks, films, and theme parks.  At nearly $41, the price is a tad higher than I’d like.  The current price results in a yield of about 1.5%.  The payout ratio is approximately 31%.  CMCSA has raised their dividend for 6 straight years.  I’m hoping for a pullback to around $37-$38.

Has the end of 2017 been quiet for your portfolio, too?  Or do you have any big plans before we ring in 2018?  Please share your thoughts!

6 thoughts on “Portfolio Thoughts (Dec. 2017)

  1. Hi ED,
    It’s nice that you monitor your portfolio so closely and make adjustments when you see some required each month. I guess commissions for selling/buying are not high at your broker?
    For now, I am only planning to build my portfolio up without selling anything as it’s quite low. And commissions are quite high ($9.90 minimum) for trading US stocks.

    1. Hi BI, my commissions currently aren’t too bad, $2 for stock trades, and an additional $1 for options (of course, I’d like it more if there were no commissions). However, I’ve paid more in the past, on par with what you currently pay, and it can certainly make frequent, small transactions prohibitive. Thus, I understand your purchase plan. I suspect your commissions might have the chance to come down as your portfolio continues to grow.

  2. Interesting how things change so quickly, right? TGT has had quite the rebound and I can’t believe they are back in the $60s. Makes me wish I would have continued to add to my position when it was in the $50s. But interesting analysis with Comcast. The industry is in line for a shake-up, especially as Disney begins its own streaming service and people continue to change the way they consume media. So I’m interested to see how the Comcasts of the world compete with one another.


    1. Hey, Bert. Yes, TGT has had a nice rebound, and yes in retrospect I wish I’d bought a little more, too. However, there always seems to be so many companies working to get a piece of our investment dollars every month. It’s impossible to commit to all of them. As for Comcast, they have a interesting set of assets outside of the cable business: Universal Studios theme parks, TV networks like CNBC, Bravo, E! & USA Network, not to mention the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. Then there’s the motion picture studios, Universal and DreamWorks Animation. Who knows what direction they go with these assets, or the others they have, given the changing landscape. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Things have been quiet for my portfolio ED, but I expect changes in 2018. I’ll be increasing my monthly contributions to my portfolio and hopefully add one or two more DRIPs. Time will tell.

    1. Hi, DP. I bet exciting changes are in order. Increasing your monthly contributions sounds like a excellent way to make sure the year gets off to an excellent start. Wishing you all the best in 2018!

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