Will the Federal Reserve really “taper” off its easy money policy? The stock market has already reacted, with dividend-paying stocks leading the selling: The Dow Jones Utility Average is now flat for the fourth quarter, after being up better than 5 percent through mid-November.
Our favorite Canadian midstream companies–names that own pipelines and processing capacity–generate the majority of their cash flow from fee-based services, a business model that provides a degree of protection against volatile oil and gas prices.
No group of dividend-paying stocks has been more profitably shorted the past few years than high yield telecoms. Short sellers make their money when stock prices fall. And sector companies have not only cut dividends eight times since 2009, but we’ve seen a pair of bankruptcies as well.
Taper talk is rife again in the financial media. And the all-too-familiar consensus is still that the Federal Reserve will abandon cheap money in the near future, driving up interest rates and sending dividend-paying stocks plummeting.
The $48 billion leveraged buyout of the former TXU Corp by KKR & Co. LP (NYSE: KKR) and other private-equity outfits set record in 2007. Now, the company's impending bankruptcy underscores the risks of looking for a quick buck in the utility sector.
We’ve yet to see third quarter results for most of the US communications industry. But it’s not too soon to ask what happened to the assertion the Big Two US Telecoms — AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) — would be skewered by rivals’ cut rate pricing and a cheaper iPhone.
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