Sunday, November 3, 2013

Monthly Review: October 2013

Here is a review of what happened in October:

Dividends: I received a total of $137.87 in dividends from 7 stocks, as indicated on my Dividends page. This represents a 10.7% increase compared with the same month a year ago. My year-to-date dividend total is now $1,903.08, which is 15.4% higher than my year-end dividend total for 2012.

Dividend Increases: I was pleased to see dividend increases announced for the following stocks (click on each stock to see my post about the increase):
  • UTX: 10.1% increase, $5.40 more in annual dividend income
  • ABT: 57.1%, $14.40
  • KMI: 2.5%, $6.60
  • VFC: 20.7%, $7.20
Note that it was the fourth increase from KMI this year, resulting in an overall increase of 13.9% in 2013. It was great to see the massive dividend increases from ABT and VFC. Thus far this year, there have been dividend increases for 29 of the 31 stocks in my portfolio. The mean increase has been 11.6%.

Stock Splits: It was rare to see stock splits announced for two stocks during the month (click on each stock to see my post about the split):
  • VFC: 4-for-1 stock split, resulting in 40 shares instead of 10
  • CNI: 2-for-1 stock split, resulting in 40 shares instead of 20
Stock splits do not really matter to me because they do not change the values of the stocks. For example, owning 50 shares of a stock trading at $100 per share is no different than owning 100 shares of the same stock trading at $50 per share after a 2-for-1 split; in each case, the total value of the shares is $5,000. However, I am aware that stock splits have positive psychological effects on some investors and can make options trading more convenient, so I generally view them as positive events.

Contributions: I contributed $2,800 in new capital for investment, which was divided between my taxable account and Roth IRA. My year-to-date contribution total is $15,215, which is an average of $1,522 per month. I have now maxed out my Roth IRA for 2013 (which has a contribution limit of $5,500), so my November and December contributions will go into my taxable account.

Transactions: I made two purchases during the month (click on the transactions to see my posts about them): I was pleased to double my position in XOM and start a position in WMT. These purchases will increase my annual dividend income by $84.80. My forward 12-month dividend total is $2,932.

Portfolio: My portfolio (taxable account and Roth IRA together) consists of 31 stocks and has a market value of $99,914.18 (including cash), which is a 7.3% increase over last month's value. The unusually large increase reflects strong capital gains and an above-average influx of new capital. As noted in a milestone post, my portfolio's value closed above $100,000 for the first time in late October.

Starting with this month's review, there is a new addition to my Portfolio page. Below the portfolio table is information about the retirement plans with my new employer, which I discussed in a previous post. The combined value of the 403(b) and 401(a) plans is $3,014.45, all of which is invested in a low-cost index fund that tracks the S&P 500. At some point in the future I will likely modify my fund allocations, but for the time being I have decided to keep things as simple as possible.

Seeking Alpha: This month I published two new articles on the investing website Seeking Alpha: The WMT article was a bit of a flop, getting about 3,400 page views, which is the lowest of any article I have written. The quarterly review had a better reception, getting over 9,800 page views. I earned $157.48 from page views in October, pushing my year-to-date total past the $1,000 mark to $1,128.49. It is pretty amazing that I increased my income by over $1,000 by writing just 9 articles this year. Obviously, I could make more money by writing more often, but I do not want to fall into the high-frequency/low-quality trap that affects some authors. Moreover, I simply do not have much "spare time" outside of my job to write investing articles, over and above monitoring my investments and keeping this blog up-to-date. Thus, I will likely continue to average about one article per month.

Looking Ahead: November will yield a nice batch of dividends and result in a substantial year-over-year increase. I expect the last dividend increase effective in 2013 to be announced by BDX, leaving INTC as the lone stock in my portfolio that did not increase its dividend this year. As mentioned previously, I plan to continue holding INTC into early 2014. I also expect dividend increases for 2014 to be announced in November by HRL and T. I should be able to contribute around $2,500 in new capital to my taxable account in November, which will allow for either one large purchase or two smaller ones.

In a recent post I mentioned that I had initiated the rollover of money from my former employer's retirement plans to an IRA. The money from TIAA-CREF has already been deposited and I expect the money from Vanguard to be deposited within the next few days. Once that happens, I will arrange the conversion of the Rollover IRA into my existing Roth IRA, which I assume will not take long to do. Thus, the rollover-and-conversion process is still on track to be completed by mid-November, which will result in a sizable chunk of money becoming available for investment in my Roth IRA. I might put some of that money to work by the end of the month, but it will depend on whether I can find attractively valued stocks. It's slim pickings on my watch list at the moment.


  1. Nice work on the SA articles this year. Possibly something to look for as another option for generating income for next year. And looking forward to November, you should have quite a lot of dry powder if prices cooperate. Hope you find some opportunities!

    1. w2r: Thanks! The way I look at it, my SA income more than pays for all my transaction fees for the year, so it's icing on my investing cake.

      I will indeed have a big chunk of dry powder by mid-November, which makes me yearn for a broad market pullback. ;)

  2. DGM - Nice to see the dividend increases across the board - well done!

    Mine are not so widespread at this point. So far this year 28 of 34 have increased, and I suspect I will be fortunate to get a total of 30 of 34 by year end. That being said, the average yield at the time of purchase on the six non-increasers was 6.96%, and as a result I was not anticipating yearly increases from this group.

    Hopefully INTC will come through for you as well!!

    1. DoD: Thank you! It would be nice if all of our stocks increased their dividends every year like clockwork, but once a portfolio gets to be a certain size, the probability that at least one stock won't increase its dividend on time becomes non-trivial. For the stocks with paused dividend growth streaks, such as INTC, I think it's important to monitor the business situation and determine whether potential avenues of revenue and earnings growth are likely to lead to subsequent dividend increases in the near future.

  3. DGM,

    Great month.

    You're firing on all cylinders. Looks like the new position is working out well and is allowing you extra income to invest with. That SA income is also very nice! The dividend growth has been very impressive, with INTC being the lone holdout.

    Keep it up! :)

    Best wishes.

    1. DM: Thanks! Everything is coming along nicely, so I'm looking forward to closing out 2013 on a high note.

  4. First of all, congratulations on a spectacular month! A bunch of solid dividend increases, your portfolio hit 100K, and even 2 splits were announced. By the looks of it, those employer accounts will build pretty fast too. Spectacular!

    Don't get too worried if AT&T fails to announce an increase this month. 2012 was the only year I can remember where it was announced in November. The two years prior it was December.

    1. CI: Thank you! It was a pretty well-rounded month. It will be interesting to see what kind of growth I get out of my employer accounts over time.

      Good point about AT&T. Regardless of exactly when they make an announcement, I hope we see a continuation of their dividend growth streak.

  5. DGM,

    A solid month. Those are some impressive dividend raises. I'm kicking myself for getting rid of ABT a few years ago.

    Like you, I'm also holding onto my INTC shares. I am expecting a much better year and a dividend raise for them next year as they start to see more revenues coming in from their mobile chips.

    1. AAI: Thanks! The ABT dividend increase was fantastic, but it's one of my smallest positions, so its impact is rather minimal. However, I'm hoping that ABBV also increases its dividend soon.

      It will be interesting to see what happens with INTC in the new year, especially after holiday sales. An improvement in earnings would be a very encouraging sign.

  6. This is a very great overview of everything that happened in the month!
    Written very clearly!
    It is fun to read it all!
    And gives courage - to achieve this self also!

    Best regards

    1. D-S: Thanks for your kind comments -- I'm glad my monthly reviews are motivational!

  7. You've done a great job this year, especially with the job change and move throwing a wrench in the works. I'm hoping to finally get on board with SA so I might be bothering you with some questions if any come up. Keep up the good work!

    1. PIP: Thanks! It's nice that the move is behind me and my month-to-month finances have settled down into a stable pattern. It'd be great to see some articles from you on SA -- feel free to ask me any questions and I'll do my best to answer them. (If you want to send me a private message, SA's messaging system works well for that.)

  8. DGM,
    How do you use the xirr calculate your annualized return?

    Does it includes your initial portfolio amount, the yearly dividend, follow by the current portfolio amount?

    Or only includes the yearly dividend, follow by the current portfolio amount?

    1. Daniel: To calculate my annualized return using Excel's XIRR function, I use the following information: my portfolio's starting value, the amounts of new capital added, and my portfolio's ending value, along with the dates associated with them. The information is organized in two columns, one for the dates and one for the values. For example, here is my date column for 2013:


      and here is the corresponding value column:


      Note that 65137.07 was my portfolio's starting value, the smaller amounts are additions of new capital, and the final amount is my portfolio's ending value as of 11/6/13. The final amount has to be made negative for the calculation to work.

      I then put the following formula in a cell: =XIRR(range of values,range of dates)*100, where each range is the column of cells with the values or the dates.

      The result is an annualized return of 34.78% for 2013. Note that dividends and capital gains/losses from the portfolio are not explicitly included in the calculation.

      I hope this helps to clarify how I do the calculation.

    2. DGM,
      Thanks so much for the detail explanation you have shown, , definitely it's clear and I fully understand on it.

      Keep up the good work in your investing and looking forward to read more meaningful blogs from you.

  9. I would really appreciate if you could show me some example, how you use the xirr to calculate your annualized return. Thanks.

  10. For example, how you manage to get the annualized return of 17.9% since January 1, 2012, which you have mention on the seeking alpha post (A Real Dividend Growth Machine: Q3 2013 Review)

  11. Great income you are getting and congrats on passing 100k in dividend funds.