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3 Safe Dividend Stocks Yielding 5%; Piper Sandler Says ‘Buy’

3 Safe Dividend Stocks Yielding 5%; Piper Sandler Says ‘Buy’

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‘Be safe’ has become a standard greeting these days, an expression of concern between friends during a time of pandemic disease and widespread civic disturbances. It’s also a piece of wise advice for investors. Mixed messages from the markets are confusing investors – some indexes, the Dow Jones particularly but to a lesser extent the S&P 500, are indicating that we’ve reached plateau in the bull rally, while the NASDAQ continues its upward tear.

Dividend stocks have long been a traditional ‘safe zone’ for investors looking for some portfolio protection. While these stocks typically offer a lower-than-average share appreciation, the dividend makes up for that by ensuring a steady income stream no matter how the shares move. The corona crisis has upended some of these calculations, however; as economies tanks and markets fell, companies tightened their belts and hunkered down – and many once-reliable dividends were slashed back, or suspended, or saw their payout ratios skyrocket as earnings fell.

But not every stock felt the hurt. Analysts from investment firm Piper Sandler have done the legwork for dividend investors. They’ve scoured the market, and found safe dividend stocks. These are equities which have remained steady during the crisis – not cuts for suspensions here. And better – their payout ratios, a key metric indicating the ability of the company to maintain the dividend – are below 50%. And finally, these are stocks that Piper Sandler gives a Buy rating, with plenty of upside potential. Using TipRanks database, we’ve pulled up the details on three such stocks.

Horizon Bancorp, Inc. (HBNC)

First on the list, Horizon Bancorp, is the holding company behind Indiana’s Horizon Bank. Horizon Bancorp offers both retail and commercial banking, along with investment management, retail lending, and insurance services. The company was hurt by the coronavirus epidemic, with the economic shutdowns reducing business to a trickle.

Like most companies during the first quarter, HBNC saw earnings drop sharply. EPS came in at 26 cents, 10% below the forecast and down 36% from the previous quarter. While these declines are serious, earnings have remained sufficient for the company to keep up its dividend. At 12 cents per share quarterly, the payment is well below the quarterly net profit, with a payout ratio of just 46%.

The affordable dividend is in line with Horizon’s long-term trends. Until the corona crisis, earnings had been trending modestly upward, and the company had been gradually raising the dividend payment for several years. In the most recent dividend declaration, for a July 17 payment, HBNC kept the payment steady for the fifth quarter in a row.

Reliability is only one sign of a dividend’s health. The yield is the other common metric. HBNC’s dividend yield, at 5.07%, beats the 2.46% average among its finance sector peers by a wide margin, and beats the ~2% average found among S&P listed companies by a wider one. Combined with the company’s commitment to maintaining the payment, the yield is a clear attraction for investors.

Finally, Horizon Bancorp has been able to improve its liquidity situation in recent weeks. The company completed a $60 million 10-year subordinated debt offering in June, raising capital to weather the corona storm.

In his recent note on this stock, Piper Sandler’s Nathan Race expressed general confidence in the company, writing, “[We] are increasingly more comfortable with HBNC's overall asset quality profile relative to peers following HBNC's first public earnings conference call and well-detailed disclosures in its earnings materials surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

Race reiterated his stance adding after the recent debt offering, “[We] view this capital raise positively as HBNC noticeably increases TRBC amid the industry-wide uncertain credit backdrop.”

Race rates HBNC a Buy, and his $14.50 price target suggests room for a 53% upside over the coming year. (To watch Race’s track record, click here)

First of Long Island Corporation (FLIC)

Next on our list is another bank holding company, The First of Long Island. FLIC’s main subsidiary is the First National Bank of Long Island, operating in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York, and on Manhattan Island. The company shows a similar story to Horizon Bancorp, above: a fundamentally sound bank, hit by the coronavirus recessionary pressures.

In another similarity to Horizon, FLIC has succeeded in keeping earnings high enough to maintain the dividend despite a 17% sequential drop in Q1. In fact, FLIC has held steady to its policy of share repurchases and dividend payments throughout the coronavirus period. In January, the company announced it was the stock repurchase program by $15 million; in March, it declared a Q1 dividend of 18 cents per share; and at the end of June, it declared the Q2 dividend for the same amount. This is the fourth consecutive quarter with the dividend at 18 cents; the company’s pattern has been to raise the payment each year, after the calendar Q2 payment – so this will bear close watching next quarter.

In the meantime, investors can take comfort in the 47% payout ratio and 5.09% yield on this reliable dividend. Despite the share depreciation recently, FLIC’s dividend continues to deliver returns.

Alexander Twerdahl, covering this stock for Piper Sandler, noted: “FLIC has long been among the most conservatively managed institutions in the country [...] FLIC has increased its dividend every year dating back to at least the late 1980s. The payout ratio in 2019 was 42%, suggesting that there is room for dividend growth even in a stressed earnings environment [...] Finally, FLIC trades at just 94% of TBV and 8.1x 2021E, which we view asan attractive entry point in light of the above.”

To this end, Twerdahl rates FLIC a Buy along with a $19 price target, which implies a strong one-year upside potential of 34%. (To watch Twerdahl’s track record, click here)

Silvercrest Asset Management (SAMG)

Last up, we move from banks to asset management. Silvercrest offers investment and advisory services, including consulting services, financial planning, and wealth management to individuals of high net worth, as well as charitable foundations. Where the two banks on our ‘safe dividend’ list have underperformed in stock price, SAMG shares have held up remarkably well during the current cycle. During the market’s rebound and bull rally, the shares recouped all of their initial losses; after recent volatility, SAMG is trading within its February levels.

It’s no wonder that SAMG has had no difficulty maintaining its dividend. Quarterly earnings showed a sequential gain from Q4 to Q1, bucking the general trend of the ‘corona quarter.’ At 36 cents, the EPS was more than enough to sustain the dividend.

In fact, Silvercrest management raised the dividend in their last declaration. Announced in February, the March quarterly dividend was increased to 16 cents, a raise of 6.6%. That rate was paid out again in June.

The 16-cent dividend annualizes to 64 cents per share, and makes the yield 5.43%. With a payment ratio of 44%, that gives SAMG the ‘safest’ dividend on today’s list.

Piper Sandler is the only firm on Wall Street covering SAMG, with reviews provided by analyst Sumeet Mody. Mody says of this company, “We remain positive on SAMG following the results of 1Q20. We like the organic growth seen in the quarter, strong balance sheet and continued strong performance across the strategies.”

The analyst rates the stock a Buy, and backs that with a $15 price target, implying a 27% upside for this year, from the current share price of $11.78. (To watch Mody’s track record, click here)

To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

The post 3 Safe Dividend Stocks Yielding 5%; Piper Sandler Says 'Buy' appeared first on TipRanks Financial Blog.

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Spread & Containment

License Plates Could Be Printed On McDonald’s Bags To Stop Littering

License Plates Could Be Printed On McDonald’s Bags To Stop Littering

There’s been talk about McDonald’s in southwest Great Britain could print…

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License Plates Could Be Printed On McDonald's Bags To Stop Littering

There's been talk about McDonald's in southwest Great Britain could print car license plates on drive-thru bags to prevent customers from littering. 

"It's not clear exactly how the number plate would be printed on packaging, but it could be scanned onto the brown bags that contain the food," Daily Mail noted. 

Chris Howell, Swansea Council's head of waste, parks and cleansing, told a climate change corporate delivery committee meeting: 

"The Welsh Government has explored with McDonald's, or their franchises, whether or not they could print number plates of cars collecting takeaways from their drive-throughs with a view that that would discourage people from discarding their materials (litter)."

Howell said one of the biggest hurdles with fast-food companies is that if one chain adopts the climate initiative, customers will go to competitors that don't print license plates on bags. 

"If McDonald's do it, then people will just go to Burger King instead of McDonald's, because nobody wants to have their private details printed on that packaging." He added: "I think it's a really good idea but at the minute it's fraught with some difficulties." 

The nationalist political party in Wales, Plaid Cymru, first proposed the idea more than two years ago during the pandemic lockdown when party leaders noticed a spike in fast-food trash along city streets and highways. 

Welsh Government spokesperson told MailOnline:

"There are no current plans to introduce a requirement for drive-through restaurants to add vehicle registration details to fast food drive-through packaging.

"We are continuing to support Keep Wales Tidy with other initiatives to tackle roadside litter including their No Regrets campaign and their Adopt a Highway initiative."

Now 'the cat is out of the bag'. It's only a matter of time before governments start forcing fast-food companies to print license plate numbers on drive-thru bags. The dangers of this could be more surveillance, and who knows what corporations would do with license plate data if such a system were implemented. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/26/2022 - 18:00

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Energy is the master resource but it could be Bitcoin that reigns supreme

Nothing shines a light on the importance of energy as much as a fast-approaching winter.
The post Energy is the master resource but it could be Bitcoin…

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Nothing shines a light on the importance of energy as much as a fast-approaching winter. When the temperature drops, the scarcity of energy becomes obvious and global efforts to preserve it begin.

This year, the fight for energy is more aggressive than it’s ever been.

The fiscal and monetary policies set in place during the COVID-19 pandemic caused dangerous inflation in almost every country in the world. The quantitative easing that set out to curb the consequences of the pandemic resulted in a historically unprecedented increase in the M2 money supply. This decision diluted the purchasing power and led to an increase in energy prices, sparking a crisis that is set to culminate this winter.

CryptoSlate analysis showed that the E.U. will most likely be the one hit the hardest by the energy crisis.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has been struggling to keep core inflation down this year. The Core Consumer Price Index (CPI) began to increase substantially in 2021 due to the pandemic both in the U.S. and the E.U.

The U.S. has seen its Core CPI decrease sharply since its culmination in February and posted better-than-expected results last month. However, Core CPI in the Eurozone has continued to increase throughout the year and currently shows no sign of stopping.

Graph showing the Core CPI in the U.S. and the Eurozone from 2017 to 2022 (Source: The Daily Shot)

A similar increase in Core CPI can also be seen in Japan and the U.K. One of the factors that may have contributed to their monetary instability is a lack of investment and support for commodities like oil and gas. Widespread efforts to switch to renewable sources of energy led to a decrease in oil and gas purchases in the E.U. and the U.K.

In contrast, the U.S. and Russia have been investing heavily in oil and gas and promoting innovation in the field.

Looking at the value of fiat currencies against the U.S. dollar further confirms this impact.

The Russian Ruble and the DXY have both increased in value in the past two years, while the euro, British Pound, and Japanese Yen have all seen their Dollar value decrease.

global fiat currencies
Graph showing DXY, GBP, EUR, JPY, and RUB and their value against the U.S. dollar (Source: TradingView)

With rising inflation and a seriously weakened currency, the E.U. will have a hard time competing for oil and gas on the global market. Natural gas producers warned that almost all long-term contracts for natural gas coming out of the U.S. have been sold out until 2026. Until then, when a new wave of natural gas supply is expected to come, the E.U. will have to compete with Asia for the limited supply and swallow the high gas price.

All of this uncertainty could have a positive effect on Bitcoin. While the broader crypto market struggles to remain afloat after the FTX fallout, Bitcoin has positioned itself as a pillar of stability in a market plagued with bad actors. Devalued fiat currencies could push retail investors away from safe-haven assets like gold and commodities and towards an asset like Bitcoin.

The post Energy is the master resource but it could be Bitcoin that reigns supreme appeared first on CryptoSlate.

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Government

‘Forgetful’ Fauci Could Not Recall Key Details Of COVID Crisis Response During Deposition: Louisiana AG

‘Forgetful’ Fauci Could Not Recall Key Details Of COVID Crisis Response During Deposition: Louisiana AG

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The…

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'Forgetful' Fauci Could Not Recall Key Details Of COVID Crisis Response During Deposition: Louisiana AG

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he could not recall key details about his actions during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to one of the officials who questioned him on Nov. 23.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks in Washington on May 11, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Fauci, the director National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984 and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, was deposed by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, both Republicans.

“It was amazing, literally, that we spent seven hours with Dr. Fauci—this is a man who single-handedly wrecked the U.S. economy based upon ‘the science, follow the science.’ And over the course of seven hours, we discovered that he can’t recall practically anything dealing with his COVID response,” Landry told The Epoch Times after leaving the deposition. “He just said, ‘I can’t recall, I haven’t seen that. And I think we need to put these documents into context,'” Landry added.

“It was extremely troubling to realize that this is a man who advises presidents of the United States and yet couldn’t recall information he put out, information he discussed, press conferences he held dealing with the COVID-19 response,” Landry added later.

Fauci and NIAID did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Landry declined to provide more details about the deposition until it is made public, which will happen at a future date. But he said officials would be able to take some of what they learned to advance their case.

Landry and Schmitt sued the U.S. government in May, alleging it violated people’s First Amendment rights by pressuring big tech companies to censor speech. Documents produced by the government in response bolstered the claims. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, the Trump appointee overseeing the case, recently ordered Fauci and seven other officials to testify under oath about their knowledge of the censorship.

Doughty concluded that plaintiffs showed Fauci “has personal knowledge about the issue concerning censorship across social media as it related to COVID-19 and ancillary issues of COVID-19.”

While Fauci qualified as a high-ranking official, the burden of him being deposed was outweighed by the court’s need for information before ruling on a motion for a preliminary injunction, Doughty said.

Wednesday was the first time Fauci testified under oath about his interactions with big tech firms, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Before the deposition, Landry said in a statement, “We all deserve to know how involved Dr. Fauci was in the censorship of the American people during the COVID pandemic; tomorrow, I hope to find out.”

“We’re going to follow the evidence everywhere it goes to get down to exactly what has happened, to get down to the fact that our government used private entities to suppress the speech of Americans,” Landry told The Epoch Times.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (C) speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 22, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Great Barrington Declaration

Jenin Younes with the New Civil Liberties Alliance, another lawyer representing plaintiffs in the case, said that Fauci claimed he did not worry about a document called the Great Barrington Declaration.

Penned in October 2020, the document called for focused protection on people most at-risk from COVID-19 while rescinding the harsh restrictions that had been imposed on children and others at little risk from the disease. Two of its authors, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, are plaintiffs in the case.

I have a very busy day job running a six billion dollar institute. I don’t have time to worry about things like the Great Barrington Declaration,” Fauci said, according to Younes.

Fauci, though, has spoken multiple times about the declaration.

In internal emails that were later published, Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, Fauci’s former boss, both criticized the declaration. “There needs to be a quick and devastating published takedown of its premises,” Collins wrote, prompting Fauci to send him a Wired magazine article he claimed “debunks this theory.”

In another missive, obtained by The Epoch Times through a Freedom of Information Act request, Fauci said the declaration reminded him of AIDS denialism.

Fauci also talked about the declaration in public, including defending his criticism during a congressional hearing in May.

I have come out very strongly publicly against the Great Barrington Declaration,” Fauci wrote to Dr. Deborah Birx in another email.

Other Depositions

The government moved to block some of the depositions, but not Fauci’s. It just won an order blocking the depositions of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly, and Rob Flaherty, a deputy assistant to Biden.

Similar efforts to block the depositions of former White House press secretary Jen Psaki and FBI official Elvis Chan have been unsuccessful.

Chan is scheduled to answer questions next week. Psaki is scheduled to be deposed on Dec. 8.

Chan was involved in communicating with Facebook, LinkedIn, and other big tech firms about content moderation, according to evidence developed in the case and public statements he’s made. Psaki publicly said while still in the White House that platforms should step up against alleged mis- and disinformation.

Plaintiffs have already deposed several officials including Daniel Kimmage, an official at the State Department’s Global Engagement Center.

That center worked with Easterly’s agency to create a coalition of nonprofits called the Election Integrity Partnership, which pushed social media companies to censor speech.

Kimmage was also responsible for meetings during which censorship was discussed, with State Department official Samaruddin Stewart acting on his orders, according to documents produced by LinkedIn.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/26/2022 - 13:30

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