Investors always look for the perfect formula that would enable them to purchase the best stocks> at bargain prices, which would provide large capital gains over time and an increasing stream of dividend gains. One could line up one or several indicators in order to reach a buy decision. Selling a stock however, is what could ultimately determine whether you succeed or fail in the long run.
As a buy and hold dividend investor, I try to pick stocks that trade at reasonable levels, and then dollar cost average my way into the position. My holding period is forever, as long as certain prerequisites are met. I don’t set target prices at which to exit, as most often than not the market is either going to blast through this level and never look back. Furthermore setting target prices at which to sell at would imply that I know when to sell high and that this “high” price will not be reached again the foreseeable future.
There are two conditions that could make me sell the stock I am holding.
- Company is bought out by another company for cash or stock or it is taken private
- The stock takes a very high portion of my portfolio, relative to other positions
- Company slashes or eliminates its dividend.
I will focus my attention on selling when a stock that I own cuts or suspendsits dividends. One of the main reasons why I would enter into a dividend stock is because I believe that the dividend would be increased over time, bringing my yield on cost upward to a comfortable double digit level. If a company maintains its dividend payment, without cutting it, I would still hold on to the stock. When the dividend is cut or suspended however, my goal of generating an increasing stream of dividend income is no longer valid. Thus, selling my whole position in this company is the best decision to make.
Next week I will discuss why I disagree with the notion that selling after a dividend cut is an example of buy high sell low.
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