Category Archives: Investing

Should You Get Big Dividends from Energy Stocks?

Energy stocks can offer big dividends that are too attractive to ignore. However, investors need to look into each stock carefully, as not all energy stocks are made equal. Observing their long-term stock price charts will give a good big picture.

We’ll discuss three high-yield oil and gas producers followed by safer energy stocks for big dividends.

Can You Trust Big Dividends from Oil and Gas Producers?

TORC Oil and Gas (TSX:TOG), Surge Energy (TSX:SGY), and Vermilion Energy (TSX:VET)(NYSE:VET) offer attractive dividend yields of 7-10%. However, their underlying commodities, which experience volatile prices, have a big impact on the companies’ profitability.

oil refinery

The long-term stock price charts of the oil and gas producers illustrate how volatile the stocks can be. Although difficult to time the market, it still makes sense to aim to buy low and sell high, irrespective of what yields they offer.

For example, I once thought getting an above-average yield of 6% from Vermilion was awesome. But Vermilion now yields close to 9.5% — largely due to its stock price decline. So, instead of aiming to get a nice yield on oil and gas producers, I probably would have gotten a better outcome by aiming to buy at a low price; a high yield would just be a nice side effect.

TOG Chart

TOG data by YCharts

SGY Chart

SGY data by YCharts

VET Chart

VET data by YCharts

Generally speaking, oil and gas producers, which have increased their dividends in the last 12 months, offer safer dividends than ones that haven’t.

TORC last increased its monthly dividend by 13.6% in May 2019, Surge last increased its monthly dividend by 5.25% in June 2018, while Vermilion has kept its dividend the same over the last 12 months. Since, TORC most recently raised its dividend, its dividend is likely safer than the rest.

That said, we should also give some credit to Vermilion for having maintained or increased its dividend every year since 2003. It is the only oil and gas producer as far as I know that has achieved that. However, as shown, that doesn’t prevent its stock price from being volatile.

Vermilion’s Dividend Track Record from 2003 to 2018

The investor takeaway is: Aim to buy low and sell high for price appreciation in oil and gas producers and view getting the big dividends in between as a bonus.

For much safer dividends, consider getting big dividends from energy infrastructure companies.

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How to Better Invest Your Money

Some people like the security of their principal and guaranteed returns from Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), which are equivalent to Certificate of Deposits (CDs) in the U.S.

Currently, a five-year term results in an interest rate of about 3%. That’s roughly keeping pace with the long-term inflation rate. So, people are able to maintain their purchasing power that way.

grow a money tree

Invest in the stock market

Investing in the stock market, investors can get markedly better returns. After all, the long-term average stock market returns are about 10% in the United States. The Canadian stock market tends to underperform due to the large exposure to the energy sector.

The simplest way would be to buy periodically in a market-wide fund, such as the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSEARCA:SPY). For example, if you can save $200 every month for investing, you can invest $1,000 every five months to invest for the long run.

Invest in dividend stocks

For people who’re interested in investing, going with proven businesses that pay dividends is a great way to start. By buying these stocks when they’re relatively cheap, it’s entirely possible to get returns of more than 10% per year in the long haul.

The Big 3 Canadian banks are proven businesses with stable growth. Among the three, both Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX:TD)(NYSE:TD) and Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS)(NYSE:BNS) are trading at modest discounts. According to the analyst consensus from Thomson Reuters, both stocks have 12-month upside potential of more than 11%.

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Caution: Avoid Buying This Great REITs for Now

Depending on your investing strategy, you might take (partial) profit off from a holding that has become excessively overvalued or choose to hold on to them as a part of your portfolio for safe income.

However, certainly, when stocks have become pricey as Realty Income (NYSE:O) and Welltower (NYSE:WELL) have, it doesn’t make sense to buy shares, as they’ll likely deliver lackluster returns in the near term. Instead, wait until their valuations have returned to more reasonable levels for a bigger margin of safety and a higher initial yield.

Investors often buy blue-chip REITs for their above-average and generally safe dividends. It’s difficult to say goodbye or even take partial profits from SWAN (sleep well at night) REITs when they have done well.

It’s wonderful if you bought them at a low price when they’re undervalued. But what do you do when they have run up and become excessively overvalued?

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