High yielding stocks holding up well in this market

Author: Mark Holder, Stone Fox Capital

Covestor model: Net Payout Yields

Disclosure: Long all stocks named

September was another decent month for the Net Payout Yields model with a return vs. benchmark of 3.46% – the portfolio was down 3.72% while the S&P 500 fell 7.18%. Naturally on an absolute basis the results are disappointing, but this model is not designed to time the markets. The goal remains to outperform on the way down and remain even on the way up, in the effort to produce superior returns over time.

For 2011, the model remains roughly 7.0% higher than the benchmark: As of the end of September, year to date the model was down 2.92% while the S&P 500 fell 10.04%.


The model was inactive for the second consecutive month during September, as the weak market increased the yields and hence the valuation attractiveness of most of the equities in the model. A few stocks, though, have recently reached new 52 weeks highs, causing the yields to decline. For example, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) has seen the dividend yield drop to 4% (as of 10/10) and without a buyback the Net Payout Yield (NPY) has reached below normal yields in the model.

Top Performers

The best performing stocks in such a weak stock market were as expected the healthcare, consumer staples, and utility stocks. As mentioned, BMY hit 52 week highs during the month with a nice monthly gain. Other significant gainers included WellPoint (WLP), Entergy (ETR) , FirstEnergy (FE) , and Campbell Soup (CPB).

Bottom Performers

As expected  in such a weak market, the bottom performers were stocks tied to global growth. The five worst performers had steep declines. Vale (VALE) had the largest drop, while Hartford Financial (HIG), CSX (CSX), Capital One Financial (COF), and Itau Unibanco Holding (ITUB) all had big losses.


The market has seen significant weakness over the summer, but this model has held up relatively well, and it’s in a good position to rebound with any Fall rally. Also, since a few sectors held up well, the model has the ability to rotate into weaker sectors that are now yielding more.

Dividend paying stocks have generally held up much better during this market selloff than during 2008. Whether it’s due to stronger balance sheets this time or that investors have been rotating to dividend paying stocks that yield more than government bonds, in my opinion these stocks remain very attractive.

Large companies continue to announce large buybacks and increased dividend yields as opposed to the cutbacks during 2008 and 2009, suggesting an economic outcome better than most think. Regardless, this model solely focuses on the highest yielding large caps and will continue looking for opportunities to rotate into even higher yielding stocks than what the model currently owns.