Why we sold Gap in favor of Motorola Solutions

This Stone Fox Capital Net Payout Yields model was up 2.1% in September versus a 2.4% gain for the benchmark S&P 500 Index (SPX). The model slightly under-performed the market in September, which can happen in solidly positive months. For 2012, the model is now up over 20% as of September 30th for the year.

As mentioned in the last several monthly reports, one goal of this model is to slowly trim the amount of positions back closer to 20 after reaching 26 a few months back due to mergers and partial positions. The position count remained at 24 at month end, but a partial position in Vale S.A. (VALE) was increased in order to fill out the position.

The Gap (GPS) was sold, as the position became the largest one in the portfolio after an incredible gain by the stock. After achieving a 100% gain in 2012 as of September 30. for the year, the Net Payout Yields (NPY) declined to the point that Gap was no longer attractive for this model. Read our Seeking Alpha article for more details.

With the cash from the Gap sell, we purchased Motorola Solutions (MSI) to add to the technology sector in the model. Not to mention, Motorola continuously ranks high in the top NPY list produced each month.

The model ended the month with about 3% in cash. As additional positions are sold over the next few months, the cash will be rotated into increasing existing position sizes.

With the model up 2% for the month, very few stocks had meaningful negative returns for September. The weakest stocks were CSX Corp. (CSX) and Lorillard, Inc (LO).

CSX lost nearly 9% as reduced demand for coal has impacted the growth potential for railroad companies. Analysts continue to trim earnings estimates for the current quarter putting pressure on the stock. With only a 2.6% dividend yield, the stock doesn’t have the yield support to hold the stock up. Fortunately though, a decent buyback program will allow management to buy shares cheaper.

Numerous stocks had a good month. The biggest gain though came from Accenture (ACN), which jumped over 15% for the month. This gain came after the company reported strong bookings for the end of fiscal year 2012 providing support for a strong 2013.

The stock has surged to all time highs. I believe very few non-investors realize that such gains are being made in the stock market these days.

Other big gainers were Goldman Sachs (GS), Hartford Financial (HIG) and Time Warner (TWX). All of these stocks continued rallies from August and prior.

As October started, the market has become very comfortable with the ability to avoid a major financial collapse in Europe. The relentless headline risk that never comes to fruition has finally been pushed aside. In my opinion, investors are slowly moving out of bonds and cash into dividend stocks.

The main risk for domestic markets and stocks continues to be the fiscal cliff and pending election. Stocks remain very complacent with the looming danger and little progress towards resolution. The most at risk stocks, in my opinion, will be those of high dividend payers that have had an exceptional run. These stocks might face the headwinds of higher tax rates that pushed them down at the end of 2010.

Regardless of the markets, the average stock in this model yields greater than 10% with the majority of yields coming from buybacks. This provides huge support if the market drops due to election woes or the fiscal cliff not being resolved as expected.

Disclosure: Performance discussed is net of advisory fees. The index comparisons herein are provided for informational purposes only and should not be used as the basis for making an investment decision. There are significant differences between client accounts and the indices referenced including, but not limited to, risk profile, liquidity, volatility and asset composition. The S&P 500 is an index of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry, among other factors.

The investments discussed are held in client accounts as of September 30, 2012. These investments may or may not be currently held in client accounts.The reader should not assume that any investments identified were or will be profitable or that any investment recommendations or that investment decisions we make in the future will be profitable.

Certain of the information contained in this presentation is based upon forward-looking statements, information and opinions, including descriptions of anticipated market changes and expectations of future activity. Covestor believes that such statements, information, and opinions are based upon reasonable estimates and assumptions. However, forward-looking statements, information and opinions are inherently uncertain and actual events or results may differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements. Therefore, undue reliance should not be placed on such forward-looking statements, information and opinions.