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3 “Strong Buy” Dividend Stocks With Yields of at Least 10%

3 "Strong Buy" Dividend Stocks With Yields of at Least 10%



April has seen steady growth on the S&P 500, as the index gained nearly 15%. It’s yet another sign that the stock market, at least, is recovering from the coronavirus-induced crash that began in February. The jury is still out on the economy as a whole; Q1 GDP was down by 4.8%, and unemployment insurance claims exploded to record levels in recent weeks.

With such a clouded long-term forecast, and plenty of evidence for both the bulls and the bears, the smart play now is to buy into rising dividend stocks, shoring up the portfolio for whatever lies ahead. The advantage of such a fundamentally defensive strategy is obvious: stocks that are rising now will bring the immediate gains of share appreciation, while strong dividends will provide a steady income stream regardless of market conditions.

We’ve used TipRanks database to seek out small-cap stocks with high dividends – that is, with yields exceeding 10%. To narrow it further, we looked only at stocks with ‘Strong Buy’ consensus ratings that offer upside potential of 35% or more.

Great Ajax Corporation (AJX)

We’ll start with a real estate investment trust, as this is a segment that typically offers high dividend yields. These companies, which exist to invest in, own, manage, and operate a range of commercial and residential real estate assets, are required by law to return a high percentage of their profits directly to shareholders – and they usually use dividends as the vehicle for the return. Great Ajax focuses primarily on the single-family residential niche, investing in mortgage loans and securities backed by the homes.

Ajax had a rough time in the past couple of quarters. Q4 showed EPS of 31 cents, 24% below the forecasts, but also down 14% sequentially 9% year-over-year. Those numbers were recorded before the coronavirus epidemic forced the economic shutdown – and before millions of people were forced out of work, making it more difficult for them to meet and maintain mortgage payments. Looking ahead, the company is expected to show 34 cents EPS, above Q1’s number, but still down 5.5% yoy.

Perhaps a more important number for investors is the dividend. AJX paid out 32 cents per share in March, its regular quarterly dividend, despite the low Q1 results. The company has a long history of keeping its dividend reliable, and the payment has been set at 32 cents for the past 5 quarters. The annualized payment, $1.28, gives a yield of 14.4%. This is more than 7x higher than the average dividend yield among S&P-listed stocks.

After making the dividend payment, which exceeded available quarterly earnings, AJX completed an issuance of $80 million in private placement on common stock, a move undertaken to bring in new capital at affordable rates. The move also gives AJX flexibility in responding to market moves and economic conditions going forward.

5-star analyst Kevin Barker, of Piper Sandler, likes AJX shares, as he sees the company with a sound foundation for operations. He writes of Great Ajax’ portfolio, “The vast majority of AJX's asset base consists of residential whole loans bought at a discount to par. These assets will see pressure on forward dividend yields due to an extended duration from forbearance programs and various other workouts, but the risk of a near-term impairment is low.”

Barker puts a Buy rating on this stock, with a $13 price target that indicates 46% upside growth possible in the next 12 months. (To watch Barker’s track record, click here)

Wall Street seems to agree with Barker’s analysis of AJX. The stock has 3 recent analyst reviews, and all are Buys – making the consensus rating a Strong Buy. Shares are selling for just $8.88, and the average price target of $12.50 implies a robust upside of 40%. (See Great Ajax stock analysis on TipRanks)

Saratoga Investment Corporation (SAR)

From REITs we move to investment management. Saratoga invests in mid-market private companies, generating its own income through interest on debt, capital appreciation, and equity investments. The company’s investment team manages a total $487 million in assets, and the current portfolio reaches a wide variety of sectors, including software companies, waste disposal, home security, and industry.

In its most recent quarterly report, for fiscal Q3, SAR reported 61 cents in adjusted EPS, above the forecast of 59 cents, but down 6% yoy. Looking ahead to fiscal Q4, for the period ending in February and therefore including the initial stages of the coronavirus epidemic in the US, the company is expected to show 55 cents EPS – which would be a significant decline both sequentially and year-over-year.

Despite recent falloffs in earnings, SAR has kept up its dividend payments. The current payment, at 56 cents, represents a 14% yield, which is strong enough to offset the stock’s share price depreciation in the recent bear slide. At 91%, the payout ratio indicates that SAR can afford the dividend at current income levels, and the company has sufficient liquidity, including $81.1 million in cash on hand, to keep up the payments. Saratoga has been raising its dividend steadily over the past three years.

Compass Point analyst Casey Alexander notes an important, but obvious point, in his recent review of BDC stocks: “In what has become a complete business stoppage, assumption #1 is that no one gets out unscathed.”

Applying that logic to Saratoga, Alexander wrote on April 2, “SAR dodged a potentially fatal bullet with the sale of Easy Ice, a provider of ice-making machines for hotels, restaurants and bars. Still, we understand that lower middle market borrowers are more vulnerable to business stoppages. Access to SARs untapped SBA debentures could be critical in offering additional capital to distressed portfolio companies, but the stresses from the current stoppage may be too much for some of them.”

Even with that in mind, Alexander gave SAR shares a Buy rating. The stock was trading at $10.12 when he set a price target of $15, and it has since powered through that target. Look for this analyst to revisit his pricing on SAR in the near future. (To watch Alexander’s track record, click here)

Overall, SAR shares rate a Strong Buy from the analyst consensus, and that view is unanimous – all three of the most recent reviews are Buy. Shares are selling for $15.92, and the average price target is more bullish than Alexander’s. At $21.67, it implies an upside to the stock of 36%. (See Saratoga stock analysis on TipRanks)

Westlake Chemical PRN (WLKP)

The Westlake Chemical Corporation, a major producer of olefins and vinyls, spun off its ethylene business in 2014, forming a master limited partnership called Westlake Chemical Partners. WLKP, the ethylene spin-ff, controls, ethylene production facilities Kentucky and Louisiana, with an annual capacity of approximately 3.7 billion pounds and a 200-mile ethylene pipeline.

The parents company brings in over $8.6 billion in annual revenues; the ethylene Partnership reported $937.6 million in Q4 revenue, netting $61 million in quarterly income. The stock has proven resilient in recent weeks, and has regained almost $8.50 in value since dropping to just over $10 in the bear market crash of late February. That represents a gain of 79% since March 18.

WKLP currently pays out a dividend of 47.25 cents quarterly, or $1.89 annualized. This gives a dividend yield of 10.2%, 5x times higher than the S&P average, and more than 10x higher than Treasury bonds. With the Fed’s move cutting interest rates far down to nearly zero, dividend yields are naturally going to provide the better returns.

Westlake Chemical Partners has a strong position in its industry, as noted by Eduardo Seda, 4-star analyst with JonesTrading. Seda points out, “Under WLKP’s current 12-year ethylene sales agreement with its parent WLK (who is its largest customer as well), with a majority of WLKP’s revenues under this long-term fixed price contract structure, most of the ethylene production is insulated against frequent and often substantial commodity price fluctuations.”

Ensured income is always good for a company, and Seda gives WKLP a Buy rating, along with a $29 price target implying a hefty 56% upside potential. (To watch Seda’s track record, click here)

WKLP, like the stocks above, shows a unanimous Strong Buy consensus view based on 3 Buy ratings. The stock’s shares price is the highest on this list, at $18.53, and the $28 price target suggests room for 51% upside growth this year. (See WKLP stock analysis on TipRanks)

The post 3 "Strong Buy" Dividend Stocks With Yields of at Least 10% appeared first on TipRanks Financial Blog.

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Comments on February Employment Report

The headline jobs number in the February employment report was above expectations; however, December and January payrolls were revised down by 167,000 combined.   The participation rate was unchanged, the employment population ratio decreased, and the …



The headline jobs number in the February employment report was above expectations; however, December and January payrolls were revised down by 167,000 combined.   The participation rate was unchanged, the employment population ratio decreased, and the unemployment rate was increased to 3.9%.

Leisure and hospitality gained 58 thousand jobs in February.  At the beginning of the pandemic, in March and April of 2020, leisure and hospitality lost 8.2 million jobs, and are now down 17 thousand jobs since February 2020.  So, leisure and hospitality has now essentially added back all of the jobs lost in March and April 2020. 

Construction employment increased 23 thousand and is now 547 thousand above the pre-pandemic level. 

Manufacturing employment decreased 4 thousand jobs and is now 184 thousand above the pre-pandemic level.

Prime (25 to 54 Years Old) Participation

Since the overall participation rate is impacted by both cyclical (recession) and demographic (aging population, younger people staying in school) reasons, here is the employment-population ratio for the key working age group: 25 to 54 years old.

The 25 to 54 years old participation rate increased in February to 83.5% from 83.3% in January, and the 25 to 54 employment population ratio increased to 80.7% from 80.6% the previous month.

Both are above pre-pandemic levels.

Average Hourly Wages

WagesThe graph shows the nominal year-over-year change in "Average Hourly Earnings" for all private employees from the Current Employment Statistics (CES).  

There was a huge increase at the beginning of the pandemic as lower paid employees were let go, and then the pandemic related spike reversed a year later.

Wage growth has trended down after peaking at 5.9% YoY in March 2022 and was at 4.3% YoY in February.   

Part Time for Economic Reasons

Part Time WorkersFrom the BLS report:
"The number of people employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.4 million, changed little in February. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs."
The number of persons working part time for economic reasons decreased in February to 4.36 million from 4.42 million in February. This is slightly above pre-pandemic levels.

These workers are included in the alternate measure of labor underutilization (U-6) that increased to 7.3% from 7.2% in the previous month. This is down from the record high in April 2020 of 23.0% and up from the lowest level on record (seasonally adjusted) in December 2022 (6.5%). (This series started in 1994). This measure is above the 7.0% level in February 2020 (pre-pandemic).

Unemployed over 26 Weeks

Unemployed Over 26 WeeksThis graph shows the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

According to the BLS, there are 1.203 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job, down from 1.277 million the previous month.

This is down from post-pandemic high of 4.174 million, and up from the recent low of 1.050 million.

This is close to pre-pandemic levels.

Job Streak

Through February 2024, the employment report indicated positive job growth for 38 consecutive months, putting the current streak in 5th place of the longest job streaks in US history (since 1939).

Headline Jobs, Top 10 Streaks
Year EndedStreak, Months
6 tie194333
6 tie198633
6 tie200033
1Currrent Streak


The headline monthly jobs number was above consensus expectations; however, December and January payrolls were revised down by 167,000 combined.  The participation rate was unchanged, the employment population ratio decreased, and the unemployment rate was increased to 3.9%.  Another solid report.

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Immune cells can adapt to invading pathogens, deciding whether to fight now or prepare for the next battle

When faced with a threat, T cells have the decision-making flexibility to both clear out the pathogen now and ready themselves for a future encounter.

Understanding the flexibility of T cell memory can lead to improved vaccines and immunotherapies. Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

How does your immune system decide between fighting invading pathogens now or preparing to fight them in the future? Turns out, it can change its mind.

Every person has 10 million to 100 million unique T cells that have a critical job in the immune system: patrolling the body for invading pathogens or cancerous cells to eliminate. Each of these T cells has a unique receptor that allows it to recognize foreign proteins on the surface of infected or cancerous cells. When the right T cell encounters the right protein, it rapidly forms many copies of itself to destroy the offending pathogen.

Diagram depicting a helper T cell differentiating into either a memory T cell or an effector T cell after exposure to an antigen
T cells can differentiate into different subtypes of cells after coming into contact with an antigen. Anatomy & Physiology/SBCCOE, CC BY-NC-SA

Importantly, this process of proliferation gives rise to both short-lived effector T cells that shut down the immediate pathogen attack and long-lived memory T cells that provide protection against future attacks. But how do T cells decide whether to form cells that kill pathogens now or protect against future infections?

We are a team of bioengineers studying how immune cells mature. In our recently published research, we found that having multiple pathways to decide whether to kill pathogens now or prepare for future invaders boosts the immune system’s ability to effectively respond to different types of challenges.

Fight or remember?

To understand when and how T cells decide to become effector cells that kill pathogens or memory cells that prepare for future infections, we took movies of T cells dividing in response to a stimulus mimicking an encounter with a pathogen.

Specifically, we tracked the activity of a gene called T cell factor 1, or TCF1. This gene is essential for the longevity of memory cells. We found that stochastic, or probabilistic, silencing of the TCF1 gene when cells confront invading pathogens and inflammation drives an early decision between whether T cells become effector or memory cells. Exposure to higher levels of pathogens or inflammation increases the probability of forming effector cells.

Surprisingly, though, we found that some effector cells that had turned off TCF1 early on were able to turn it back on after clearing the pathogen, later becoming memory cells.

Through mathematical modeling, we determined that this flexibility in decision making among memory T cells is critical to generating the right number of cells that respond immediately and cells that prepare for the future, appropriate to the severity of the infection.

Understanding immune memory

The proper formation of persistent, long-lived T cell memory is critical to a person’s ability to fend off diseases ranging from the common cold to COVID-19 to cancer.

From a social and cognitive science perspective, flexibility allows people to adapt and respond optimally to uncertain and dynamic environments. Similarly, for immune cells responding to a pathogen, flexibility in decision making around whether to become memory cells may enable greater responsiveness to an evolving immune challenge.

Memory cells can be subclassified into different types with distinct features and roles in protective immunity. It’s possible that the pathway where memory cells diverge from effector cells early on and the pathway where memory cells form from effector cells later on give rise to particular subtypes of memory cells.

Our study focuses on T cell memory in the context of acute infections the immune system can successfully clear in days, such as cold, the flu or food poisoning. In contrast, chronic conditions such as HIV and cancer require persistent immune responses; long-lived, memory-like cells are critical for this persistence. Our team is investigating whether flexible memory decision making also applies to chronic conditions and whether we can leverage that flexibility to improve cancer immunotherapy.

Resolving uncertainty surrounding how and when memory cells form could help improve vaccine design and therapies that boost the immune system’s ability to provide long-term protection against diverse infectious diseases.

Kathleen Abadie was funded by a NSF (National Science Foundation) Graduate Research Fellowships. She performed this research in affiliation with the University of Washington Department of Bioengineering.

Elisa Clark performed her research in affiliation with the University of Washington (UW) Department of Bioengineering and was funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF-GRFP) and by a predoctoral fellowship through the UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM).

Hao Yuan Kueh receives funding from the National Institutes of Health.

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President Biden Delivers The “Darkest, Most Un-American Speech Given By A President”

President Biden Delivers The "Darkest, Most Un-American Speech Given By A President"

Having successfully raged, ranted, lied, and yelled through…



President Biden Delivers The "Darkest, Most Un-American Speech Given By A President"

Having successfully raged, ranted, lied, and yelled through the State of The Union, President Biden can go back to his crypt now.

Whatever 'they' gave Biden, every American man, woman, and the other should be allowed to take it - though it seems the cocktail brings out 'dark Brandon'?

Tl;dw: Biden's Speech tonight ...

  • Fund Ukraine.

  • Trump is threat to democracy and America itself.

  • Abortion is good.

  • American Economy is stronger than ever.

  • Inflation wasn't Biden's fault.

  • Illegals are Americans too.

  • Republicans are responsible for the border crisis.

  • Trump is bad.

  • Biden stands with trans-children.

  • J6 was the worst insurrection since the Civil War.

(h/t @TCDMS99)

Tucker Carlson's response sums it all up perfectly:

"that was possibly the darkest, most un-American speech given by an American president. It wasn't a speech, it was a rant..."

Carlson continued: "The true measure of a nation's greatness lies within its capacity to control borders, yet Bid refuses to do it."

"In a fair election, Joe Biden cannot win"

And concluded:

“There was not a meaningful word for the entire duration about the things that actually matter to people who live here.”

Victor Davis Hanson added some excellent color, but this was probably the best line on Biden:

"he doesn't care... he lives in an alternative reality."

*  *  *

Watch SOTU Live here...

*   *   *

Mises' Connor O'Keeffe, warns: "Be on the Lookout for These Lies in Biden's State of the Union Address." 

On Thursday evening, President Joe Biden is set to give his third State of the Union address. The political press has been buzzing with speculation over what the president will say. That speculation, however, is focused more on how Biden will perform, and which issues he will prioritize. Much of the speech is expected to be familiar.

The story Biden will tell about what he has done as president and where the country finds itself as a result will be the same dishonest story he's been telling since at least the summer.

He'll cite government statistics to say the economy is growing, unemployment is low, and inflation is down.

Something that has been frustrating Biden, his team, and his allies in the media is that the American people do not feel as economically well off as the official data says they are. Despite what the White House and establishment-friendly journalists say, the problem lies with the data, not the American people's ability to perceive their own well-being.

As I wrote back in January, the reason for the discrepancy is the lack of distinction made between private economic activity and government spending in the most frequently cited economic indicators. There is an important difference between the two:

  • Government, unlike any other entity in the economy, can simply take money and resources from others to spend on things and hire people. Whether or not the spending brings people value is irrelevant

  • It's the private sector that's responsible for producing goods and services that actually meet people's needs and wants. So, the private components of the economy have the most significant effect on people's economic well-being.

Recently, government spending and hiring has accounted for a larger than normal share of both economic activity and employment. This means the government is propping up these traditional measures, making the economy appear better than it actually is. Also, many of the jobs Biden and his allies take credit for creating will quickly go away once it becomes clear that consumers don't actually want whatever the government encouraged these companies to produce.

On top of all that, the administration is dealing with the consequences of their chosen inflation rhetoric.

Since its peak in the summer of 2022, the president's team has talked about inflation "coming back down," which can easily give the impression that it's prices that will eventually come back down.

But that's not what that phrase means. It would be more honest to say that price increases are slowing down.

Americans are finally waking up to the fact that the cost of living will not return to prepandemic levels, and they're not happy about it.

The president has made some clumsy attempts at damage control, such as a Super Bowl Sunday video attacking food companies for "shrinkflation"—selling smaller portions at the same price instead of simply raising prices.

In his speech Thursday, Biden is expected to play up his desire to crack down on the "corporate greed" he's blaming for high prices.

In the name of "bringing down costs for Americans," the administration wants to implement targeted price ceilings - something anyone who has taken even a single economics class could tell you does more harm than good. Biden would never place the blame for the dramatic price increases we've experienced during his term where it actually belongs—on all the government spending that he and President Donald Trump oversaw during the pandemic, funded by the creation of $6 trillion out of thin air - because that kind of spending is precisely what he hopes to kick back up in a second term.

If reelected, the president wants to "revive" parts of his so-called Build Back Better agenda, which he tried and failed to pass in his first year. That would bring a significant expansion of domestic spending. And Biden remains committed to the idea that Americans must be forced to continue funding the war in Ukraine. That's another topic Biden is expected to highlight in the State of the Union, likely accompanied by the lie that Ukraine spending is good for the American economy. It isn't.

It's not possible to predict all the ways President Biden will exaggerate, mislead, and outright lie in his speech on Thursday. But we can be sure of two things. The "state of the Union" is not as strong as Biden will say it is. And his policy ambitions risk making it much worse.

*  *  *

The American people will be tuning in on their smartphones, laptops, and televisions on Thursday evening to see if 'sloppy joe' 81-year-old President Joe Biden can coherently put together more than two sentences (even with a teleprompter) as he gives his third State of the Union in front of a divided Congress. 

President Biden will speak on various topics to convince voters why he shouldn't be sent to a retirement home.

According to CNN sources, here are some of the topics Biden will discuss tonight:

  • Economic issues: Biden and his team have been drafting a speech heavy on economic populism, aides said, with calls for higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy – an attempt to draw a sharp contrast with Republicans and their likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

  • Health care expenses: Biden will also push for lowering health care costs and discuss his efforts to go after drug manufacturers to lower the cost of prescription medications — all issues his advisers believe can help buoy what have been sagging economic approval ratings.

  • Israel's war with Hamas: Also looming large over Biden's primetime address is the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, which has consumed much of the president's time and attention over the past few months. The president's top national security advisers have been working around the clock to try to finalize a ceasefire-hostages release deal by Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that begins next week.

  • An argument for reelection: Aides view Thursday's speech as a critical opportunity for the president to tout his accomplishments in office and lay out his plans for another four years in the nation's top job. Even though viewership has declined over the years, the yearly speech reliably draws tens of millions of households.

Sources provided more color on Biden's SOTU address: 

The speech is expected to be heavy on economic populism. The president will talk about raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy. He'll highlight efforts to cut costs for the American people, including pushing Congress to help make prescription drugs more affordable.

Biden will talk about the need to preserve democracy and freedom, a cornerstone of his re-election bid. That includes protecting and bolstering reproductive rights, an issue Democrats believe will energize voters in November. Biden is also expected to promote his unity agenda, a key feature of each of his addresses to Congress while in office.

Biden is also expected to give remarks on border security while the invasion of illegals has become one of the most heated topics among American voters. A majority of voters are frustrated with radical progressives in the White House facilitating the illegal migrant invasion. 

It is probable that the president will attribute the failure of the Senate border bill to the Republicans, a claim many voters view as unfounded. This is because the White House has the option to issue an executive order to restore border security, yet opts not to do so

Maybe this is why? 

While Biden addresses the nation, the Biden administration will be armed with a social media team to pump propaganda to at least 100 million Americans. 

"The White House hosted about 70 creators, digital publishers, and influencers across three separate events" on Wednesday and Thursday, a White House official told CNN. 

Not a very capable social media team... 

The administration's move to ramp up social media operations comes as users on X are mostly free from government censorship with Elon Musk at the helm. This infuriates Democrats, who can no longer censor their political enemies on X. 

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers tell Axios that the president's SOTU performance will be critical as he tries to dispel voter concerns about his elderly age. The address reached as many as 27 million people in 2023. 

"We are all nervous," said one House Democrat, citing concerns about the president's "ability to speak without blowing things."

The SOTU address comes as Biden's polling data is in the dumps

BetOnline has created several money-making opportunities for gamblers tonight, such as betting on what word Biden mentions the most. 

As well as...

We will update you when Tucker Carlson's live feed of SOTU is published. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2024 - 07:44

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