Investing in dividend growth stocks is a long-term proposition. One of the beauties of following a dividend growth strategy is that you don't have to watch your portfolio or the market on a daily basis. For the most part, daily, monthly and yearly movements are just noise in the system.

My normal practice is to refresh my analytical spreadsheets each Friday with updated price information on the 250+ stocks that I follow. Even then, I don't normally look at the value of my portfolio or the performance of individual stocks.

However, each quarter I update my income portfolio's performance and benchmark it against the S&P 500 and other portfolios. At that time I look at the performance of individual stocks to understand the overall performance the portfolio.

Saturday, I updated my Income Portfolio's performance for the third quarter. Building on that, here are my income portfolio's top and bottom five performers for the year, through September 30, 2014...

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Looking for a safe haven in this turbulent market? Many of our recent articles have cited preferred stocks as a safe haven, but maybe you should also consider Apple, (NASDAQ:AAPL), which has bucked the latest market pullback in addition to beating the market over the past year and year-to-date. Always in the news, activist Carl Icahn feels that AAPL shares are significantly undervalued, and are worth $203. Mr. Icahn recently wrote AAPL CEO Tim Cook a letter, which is posted on his Shareholders Square Table website, in which he praised AAPL management's performance and advised them to consider buying back more shares while they're still undervalued by 50%.

AAPL has grown its quarterly dividend from $.37857 in August 2012 to the current $.47, a 24% increase over the past 2 years. If Mr. Icahn's earnings forecasts are close to being correct, we should see more dividend increases in 2015, in addition to more share buybacks. Options: Although its 1.85% dividend yield is too low to be listed in our High Dividend Stocks By Sectors Tables, AAPL does have attractive option-selling opportunities. Covered Calls: If you're looking for more income from AAPL shares, selling covered calls offers you a way to earn at least 4 to 6 times AAPL's dividend payouts in the following 3 time periods.

Source: Seeking Alpha

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Linked here is a detailed quantitative analysis of Nike, Inc. (NKE). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: Nike, Inc. is the world's leading designer and marketer of high-quality athletic footwear, athletic apparel and accessories.

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ETFs? Dividend stocks? How should I invest?

Posted by D4L | Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | | 0 comments »

Recently, I received an e-mail from a reader: “I'm confused. One week you write about the folly of active management and how ETFs are the panacea. The next week you write about ‘The Best Dividend Stocks You’ve Never Heard Of’ – implying that retail investors should go out and buy the stocks. Where do you stand? First, let me start with exchange-traded funds. I think ETFs are terrific. They provide instant diversification and have much lower costs than mutual funds. If you don’t have the time or knowledge to monitor a portfolio of companies, ETFs are a great solution. In my own portfolio I hold a mix of stocks, ETFs and – for the fixed-income portion – GICs. If I have some cash to invest and I’m feeling lazy or indecisive, I just dump it into one of my ETFs and I’m done.

Why try to time the ups and downs – something I don’t believe anyone can do with any consistency – when I can just hang on and enjoy the fruits of time? This is where dividends play a key role. The vast majority of stocks in my personal portfolio have a history of rising dividends; studies have shown that such stocks outperform those that pay a flat dividend or no dividend at all. But I believe there’s a behavioural benefit from dividends as well: An investor who receives a dividend every quarter, and a dividend increase every year, has a powerful incentive to remain invested.

Source: Globe and Mail

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3 Top Dividend Growth Stocks to Buy Today

Posted by D4L | Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | | 0 comments »

Dividend growth stocks are arguably the best type of stocks to own because they continuously reward shareholders with dividends and share buybacks. The goal when investing in dividend growth stocks is to find stocks that will continue to raise their dividends for many years to come. Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), McDonald's (NYSE: MCD), and PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) are three industry-leading companies with sustainable dividend payouts. Not only are they dividend aristocrats (more on that in a minute), but they are also top dividend growth stocks to buy today. Here's why.

Procter & Gamble has had its fair share of up and downs in recent years. However, one thing that has remained consistent is management's commitment to creating shareholder value in the form of dividends and share buybacks. The fast-food giant's stock may be down nearly 6% this month, but its dividend has never looked so good. Last month, McDonald's beefed up its quarterly cash dividend by as much as 5% to $0.85 per share. Not only is the king of pop a household name, but it has also been rewarding income investors every year since 1952. Better still, Pepsi has increased its payout for the past 42 straight years.

Source: Motley Fool

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