Dividend Munchers Easter 2019 update (and still beating Neil Woodford) says Nigel Somerville

Johnny Mercer MP & the mini bond scandal, a useful dupe with a grossly inflated sense of self worth. Read HERE

I have been remiss in not updating on my little portfolio of FTSE-100 dividend munchers for a while: it is time to make amends. This was a small portfolio put together in the hope of beating bank interest, but from a point of view of being bearish on the market. It has been a bumpy ride, but at least I am still ahead of Neil Woodford! The four stocks so far are BT (BT.A), Centrica (CNA), ITV (ITV) and a half-portion of Vodafone (VOD)...

Optibiotix – er should you not have declared this related party deal with your chairman? Read HERE

The best performer is BT: having entered at 225.4p the shares are currently marginally higher at about 230p and I’ve had 15.17p in dividends to clock up an overall gain of 8.7% in around a year. When I bought this one it seemed to be a stock you could just forget about – so long as it could afford to carry on with the dividend, and the yield on offer is currently 6.6%. But with a still relatively new chairman and now a new CEO, the next set of results will attract a bit more attention than usual. Can BT afford to carry on paying its generous dividend or might it get chopped? It still has pension liabilities to deal with and growth had more or less stalled. On the plus side, it could sell off some assets which could transform things – the most obvious being OpenReach which the regulators have ring-fenced from BT at a management level anyway. On a smaller scale, there were suggestions last year that BT could sell off its masts and then there is the Italian arm which caused a spot of bother. Or we could see a restructuring and load of P45s as BT pushes to make itself more efficient, and further efforts to push its TV package as part of its quad-play? With a new team at the helm, now would seem to be the most obvious time to hack the dividend if it is going to. On the other hand, if it is going to sell off a few bits, why not start that now? And all the while, activist investors are on the share register who will be pushing for something more radical than more of the same. Well, BT has its first round of numbers under the new CEO Philip Jansen due out on 9 May – the 2018 FY results so we shall know the truth soon enough, and especially about that juicy dividend. Fingers crossed, we should get some sign that the deep value within BT can be released but at the very least I’m hoping my dividend is safe, so I can forget about this share once more.

Ascent Resources – and there’s the placing as it exploits permit ‘delight’. Read HERE

Centrica has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons lately. With gas and electricity providers struggling as an industry, questions are being raised over whether Centrica’s generous dividend can really survive. With the shares having headed sharply south, its yield is now up to a stonking 11.35% - which means that the market has it down as a racing certainty to be chopped. At the last report it was still losing customers, still suffering nuclear difficulties, earnings per share came in below the dividend and seem set to fall further. And with eleven of its industry rivals having gone to the wall recently, it is clearly a tough environment to be in. But rather than hunker down and focus on the job, there have been big pay rises and bonuses. So whilst staff are being fired and shareholders suffer, the man at the top got a whopper of a pay packet. I’ve said my piece on this already, but the bottom line is that this is quite simply unacceptable. Sure, have a bonus and a big pay rise if you deliver improved performance but you can’t take it in the middle of all this. It just sends all the wrong messages, and tells me – the little guy – that the boardroom is only interested in itself. With the AGM on 13 May, I shall be taking a long careful look at my broker account to see about registering my protest – for what it is worth. Aside from that, Centrica does look strong enough to see out the current industry malaise, and Chris Bailey regarded Centrica’s dealings over the price cap as pretty successful. Jobs are being cut and cost taken out of the business but I would like to see those customer losses reversed. There remains much to do, but I don’t think selling up now is the right thing to do. But I would like to sell its management, which risks cutting jobs, hacking the dividend and paying itself a monster pay-rise for missing all its own targets. My entry point here was just shy of 143p so with the shares down at a lowly 105.75p I’m licking my wounds (even if I chopped a bit at 162.8p). But having bagged 12p in dividends so far the drop isn’t quite as dramatic, although a still painful (official) 17.7%. I’m sure the rising possibility (give me strength) of a Corbyn-led government is also dragging the shares lower – something I hope will change over the coming months. But I am hopeful that Centrica will ride out the storm and that profits will recover to pay a decent income – and that therefore the share price will head northwards once more. Meanwhile, we have a trading update to look forward to on 13 May, the day of the AGM. Let’s hope the update really is worth looking forward to…..

I believe that I3 Energy has potential, so I've bought some myself says Gary Newman HERE

Vodafone was the most obvious early blunder when I piled in for a half-sized holding at over 190p. The stock is now just 142.56p – and that is off the low point set just last month almost at 130p. Thankful for small mercies…..With 4.3p in dividends clocked up I am now (only!) 23% off on this one but I have not lost hope of some recovery. For a start the broker community appears heavily divided on where they think the shares are going. The most recent note – from Deutsche Bank saw the chopping of the price target from 268p to 250p and Numis came in with 220p in February, along with Bank of America at 200p and Citigroup was also positive. Against them we have RBC Capital Markets and Macquarie at just 125p. Clearly someone is going to end up with egg on their face but it does suggest that there could be some upside as we are at the lower end of that spectrum. My overall impression is that Vodafone has been paying heavily for 5G licenses, but more recent sharing deals could take the sting out of that. And, like BT, Vodafone could sell off its mobile masts to bring in a few shekels. But the highlight for me comes on 14 May when Vodafone releases its FY18 numbers under the now promoted CEO, its former FD. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for good numbers – and not too much emphasis on adjusted EBITDA (bullshit squared numbers). We’ve seen Vodafone share price nose-dive before, only for it to recover and I fancy the same will happen again.

Biome Technologies – AGM, Q1 update; Bioplastics potential but Stanelco RF Technologies concerns? Read HERE

Finally, ITV seems to be having a better run of things. This is another one where I sliced a bit off after an early rise (but ignore that for the purposes of the portfolio overall score). Having bought in at 143.7p, the shares bottomed out at almost 120p but are now back up to 140.3p and I have 8p of dividends in the bag so I’m up by a fairly marginal 3.2%. With a spot of luck, Chris Bailey’s heroine will produce a steady improvement in numbers as we go forward, but that stake held by Liberty Media seems to underpin ITV: if McCall delivers than all is good. If she doesn’t than Liberty will strike. With the dividend raised a notch last time, I'm quite happy to hold on, and look forward to the trading update on 8 May. And so to the overall scores... Last time I was 6% down and now I am off by 4.9% - better, and still beating Neil Woodford whose equity income fund is down by 7.8% over the past year (including dividends), but not quite what I was looking for. But with BT reporting under its all-new management and numbers from Vodafone next month, as well as trading updates from Centrica and ITV, I fancy there could be some big moves coming up. Let’s hope those moves are northwards! And I am still prevaricating over the next investment. Will it be Centamin (CEY) or possibly a Neil Woodford reject? I hope to make a decision in the next month or so.

Purplebricks Remains a Sell. Lucian Miers writes HERE

Filed under: BT, Centrica, ITV, Vodafone, Johnny Mercer, Optibiotix, Ascent Resources, I3, Biome, Purplebricks

PetroTal - failure of finance & corporate governance control. Sell says Peter Brailey...


Time for General Inaction but still short Sirius Minerals argues Lucian Miers


RiverFort Global Opportunities - remains a buy say the team at HotStockRockets


Volex - positive interims, a good share tip and now we upgrade...


Oops...FirstGroup did it again. Chris Bailey writes...


Eco Atlantic - following Jethro & Joe wells initial results analysis, Peter Brailey reviews...


KEFI Minerals - financial & Tulu Kapi project updates... shares soar again & stance upgraded


Bluebird Merchant Ventures - Gubong permit received, shares very cheap?...


Rolls Royce remains an attractive long cycle stock considers Chris Bailey


A terrible deal for Sound Energy? Gary Newman reviews...


Marks & Spencer - you know what happens when there are no believers...


Kicking when down - ref. Sirius Minerals. Tom Winnifrith writes...


Columbus Energy Resources - Saffron prospect spud update, drilling excitement ahoy...


Image Scan Holdings - a buy considers the HotStockRockets team...


Large-cap earnings frenzy - Shell, Lloyds, BT, Crest Nicholson & DS Smith. Buys amongst them?


Tom Winnifrith reviews - is lying and fraud acceptable on the London Market?


M&G - a spin-off opportunity? Chris Bailey reviews...


Solid State - half-year trading update, still a buy?


Ariana Resources - a junior gold conviction buy? Nigel Somerville reviews...


Whitbread - a buy at/around the forty quid level?


After the Woodford scandal...how is the house of Hargreaves Lansdown looking?


If it sounds too good to be true...which brings me back to Versarien writes Tom Winnifrith...


JKX Oil & Gas - a buy at current levels says Gary Newman


Ariana Resources - key licence renewal, value soon to be highlighted?


Next plc - would I be selling too? Reviews Chris Bailey


Yourgene Health - much more to come? A review from HotStockRockets...


OptiBiotix Health - looks good reasons to continue to consider a strong buy


Bushveld Minerals currently offers a buying opportunity says Gary Newman


Altyn - pleasing Resources & Reserves upgrade, remains a gold recovery buy


GVC ups its numbers again - still happy to make a bet on this one


Staffing naturally struggles but easyJet continues to impress says Chris Bailey


Good luck BP shareholders with the man to win over the millennials says Chris Bailey


Could Ted Baker be a zero? Tom Winnifrith reviews...


BigDish - evil spin doctor, the Sith Lord Zak Mir, needs to get his act together...


Tesco and Metro Bank prove management matters


I descend to the AIM cesspit but emerge still loving up Breedon Group says Chris Bailey


Big Sofa - interims & placing, Strong buy says Tom Winnifrith for HotStockRockets


Purplebricks - time to get off the fence, sell at 110p says Lucian Miers


Columbus Energy Resources - SWP updated prospectivity, drilling excitement ahoy


Thoughts on PZ Cussons & on Aston Martin raising money at 12% from Chris Bailey


The Penny Finally Drops at PureCircle says Lucian Miers


Is it good or bad that M&S loses another CFO? Chris Bailey reviews...


Petra Diamonds - a speculative buy suggests Gary Newman


Next, Diageo & Johnson Matthey - large caps are all about levels says Chris Bailey


Petropavlovsk - remains a buy after interims say Tom Winnifrith & Steve Moore


Eco Atlantic - good value or guidance required from a film star? Peter Brailey writes...


Versarien - the point at which it must deliver is approaching says Lucian Miers


5 slam-dunk sells for 2019 - September update. Nigel Somerville writes...


Barclays & Lloyds fess up to new PPI horrors... but that is fine. Chris Bailey writes...


Finding it hard to find any reason not to invest in Jadestone Energy says Gary Newman


Ferrexpo - time for another go says Lucian Miers...


Intu Properties - when even a takeover cannot help...


Boohoo says boo hoo to the doubters. Chris Bailey writes...


President Energy can weather the economic problems in Argentina considers Gary Newman


IQE - why that shiny new debt facility?


Horizonte Minerals - after positive news on funding...


Whilst some go back to school, M&S goes back to the FTSE-250...


Optibiotix - interims do not impress but it really is a strong buy argues Tom Winnifrith


Another Crack at Wayfair says Lucian Miers


Motels, gold and the stock no active investor should buy. Chris Bailey writes...


ITM Power - a buy on a long term investment basis considers Peter Brailey


Rockhopper Exploration - update following further positive news on Sea Lion


Ferguson plc & woe betide the future of the UK stockmarket?


Wood Group - I remain a buyer says Chris Bailey


ConvaTec - still a buy after further management change?


A share tip of the year for 2019 update...


GVC raises numbers but please no more number of the beast share sales says Chris Bailey


The thoughts of Lucian Miers on the Burford fiasco


Gold - rushing ever-higher. What I will do reviews Nigel Somerville...


Eco Atlantic - what to do after a great first drill?


Spin City at G4S. Chris Bailey writes...


Aviva, Cineworld and Funding Circle reviewed by Chris Bailey


Thomas Cook - doing the Fandango. Lucian Miers writes...


Chris Bailey confesses he is now a Dominos Pizza customer, but to buy the shares?


Volex - ahead of expectations. Buy say Tom Winnifrith & Steve Moore


Petra Diamonds could still turnaround considers Gary Newman


Opportunities in Barclays, Lloyds and ConvaTec? Chris Bailey reviews...


Fresnillo - big drop in share price an opportunity? Gary Newman reviews...


Columbus Energy Resources - a buy ahead of South West Peninsula drilling?


Tesla Q2 another milestone on the road to bankruptcy and ruin says Lucian Miers


Amino Technologies - a recovery buy suggest Tom Winnifrith & Steve Moore


I remain calm and collected amidst the heat, M&A activity & as Sage stumbles says Chris Bailey


RockRose Energy tip up nearly 450%, so what now reviews Gary Newman


PZ Cussons - losses in Africa... but still a buy? Chris Bailey reviews...


Block Energy - let winner run or take a healthy profit?


Sell Netflix short as US subscribers back off says Lucian Miers


OptiBiotix Health - scientific and commercial update adding to confidence?


Thoughts On Thomas Cook & Kier from Lucian Miers


Burberry - excitements sufficient? Chris Bailey reviews


KEFI Minerals - Q2 2019 operational update, shares remain a Buy says HotStockRockets


Angling Direct could have long-term potential says Gary Newman


Hurricane Energy - Lancaster early production system delivering, Buy says Peter Brailey


I remain to be convinced that asset sale will justify the valuation of Sound Energy says Gary Newman


Imperial Brands goes progressive on its dividend...and the market likes it


Tesla and me - Chris Bailey writes...


Woodford Patient Capital Trust - still a sell says Lucian Miers


Versarien - the only question is WHEN do the shares collapse says Lucian Miers


Sainsbury - still searching for a strategy?


Creightons - we having said we expected the results to highlight the value…


PetroTal - rapid growth possible; Buy says Peter Brailey


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