Monday, April 3, 2017

Never Fall In Love With A Stock

Over time we tend grow fond of people we have a relationship with. Sometimes we grow to love them like a brother or sister; sometimes even more. In much the same way we can easily grow to love certain stocks, but this is not necessarily a good thing.

It is easy to be captivated with a top performer. Everyone loves a winner. During the 80's and 90's when Jack Welch ran General Electric (GE) the company was a well-oiled machine that routinely beat the streets expectation and the ever-increasing stock price reflected its performance. I once said that if I could only buy one stock for the rest of my life, it would be GE.

Then there's the first-love dart - that first stock that you bought. For some reason there is often an emotional attachment for the first of anything. Some business owners frame the first dollar they earn, while some investors have a hard time letting go of the first stock they purchased, especially if the stock performed well for an extended period of time. For me it wasn't the first stock I purchased (I can't even remember what it was), but instead it was the first stock I purchased for its dividend that held a special place. That stock was a REIT, First Industrial Realty Trust Inc. (FR).

So what happened? Both stocks cut their dividends and I immediately sold them. To achieve our long-term investing goals we must remove emotion from the equation. It is a recipe for disaster when we make investing decisions based on a past relationship with a stock that is contrary to the current fact pattern.

That is not to say I am not fond of certain stocks. For example, I currently like or admire these dividend stocks:

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is a leader in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and consumer products industries. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1944 and has increased its dividend payments for 54 consecutive years. Yield: 2.5%

3M Co. (MMM) provides enhanced product functionality in electronics, health care, industrial, consumer, office, telecommunications, safety & security and other markets via coatings, sealants, adhesives and other chemical additives. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1916 and has increased its dividend payments for 58 consecutive years. Yield: 2.5%

PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP) is a major international producer of branded beverage and snack food products. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1952 and has increased its dividend payments for 44 consecutive years. Yield: 2.7%

Genuine Parts Co. (GPC) is a leading wholesale distributor of automotive replacement parts, industrial parts and supplies, and office products. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1948 and has increased its dividend payments for 61 consecutive years. Yield: 2.9%

Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) offers a complete line of routers and switching products that connect and manage communications among local and wide area computer networks employing a variety of protocols. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 2011 and has increased its dividend payments for 7 consecutive years. Yield: 3.4%

Not all of the above stocks are on my current buy list, but they are some of the ones that I keep a close eye on for good opportunities to add to my position.

Full Disclosure: Long JNJ, GPC, PEP, MMM, CSCO in my Dividend Growth Stock Portfolio. See a list of all my Dividend Growth Portfolio holdings here.

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