Chatter Around the World – 66

Chatter Around the World is a curated weekly update of articles related to economics, investing, dividends and personal finance. In these weekly updates, I also capture my blog updates and news related to my portfolio holdings.

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Omega Healthcare (OHI) Dividend Increase

Omega Healthcare Investors Inc (OHI) announced that its quarterly dividend will be raised by 1.96% from $0.51 to $0.52 per share. This dividend increase is the company’s ninth consecutive quarterly increase. The new dividend is scheduled to be paid on Nov 17, 2014 to shareholders on record as of Oct 31, 2014. The new dividend rate results in an annualized yield of 5.56% based on today’s closing price.
My portfolio consists of 100 shares of Omega Healthcare, which increases my annual OHI dividends from $204 to $208.

Royal Bank of Canada (RY) Dividend Stock Analysis

Royal Bank of Canada

Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY) is the largest financial institution in Canada, as measured by deposits, revenues and market cap. Royal Bank has operations in 52 countries including a strong presence in the Carribbean. The Big Five Canadian banks control most of Canada’s financial sector and are counted amongst the safest and strongest financial institutions.

Current Market: The current market in Canada is technically in correction mode, having fallen more than 10% from its all-time highs. A resource-rich economy, Canada is facing downward pressure from the oil and energy sector declines. In addition, the Canadian dollar (called the loonie) has of-sort become a petro-dollar, tracing the path of oil. The fall of oil has resulted in a fall in the Loonie and this will affect the financial statements of all internationally exposed corporations in the coming quarters, including the banks.

Read the full analysis here.

Disruption is “Just a Buzzword”?

Disruption

There’s nothing more cliche these days than calling the word disruption cliche. The media has fallen in love with the word for a while, but has started hating it just as much due to overuse. But at the crux, the fact remains that disruption is part of the business cycle whatever one may prefer calling it.

Disruption

Disruption has been part of the business culture forever. The next new “thing” has always disrupted the olden methods into irrelevancy. The industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th century brought about advances in transportation, manufacturing and numerous other industries. In the late 19th and early 20th century, we saw advances in electricity, transportation incl. automobiles and air travel and plenty of other fields. More recently, the birth of computers and internet has pushed the technological innovation to new levels. With the availability of communication on-the-go has come access to market-spaces that were unheard of just a decade or two ago. This of course, has unleashed new forms of entrepreneurship, where businesses are built that threaten the olden ways.

Take businesses like Uber, Airbnb or TaskRabbit for instance. These businesses have opened up a sharing economy where anyone can become a driver, short-term landlord or render services to strangers for any imaginable task. The success of these business lies in the fact that it is easy to use, and the power is spread to the masses, allowing people to participate in the workforce. This of course is bad news for incumbents in each of their respective industry such as cab drivers, hoteliers etc.

Every disruption in every industry in the human history has met resistance. No one wants to lose the advantage they hold to a newcomer. Electricity in houses? You want to burn your house down?! Automobiles for all? Think of the horses! Computers for everyone? Whats the point? Michael Faraday is quoted to have said when asked the point of electricity by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer (minister of finance): “…one day you may be able to tax it”.

The Politics

The dinosaurs in the industry like to make a political rhetoric out of it. They claim that it is unsafe (when in doubt, use the fear factor) and results in job losses. They forget that the incumbents were disruptors sometime in history too. I heard someone use Kodak as a reference going out of business and resulted in job losses. So what about the time when Kodak put other companies out of business as a result of direct competition or when new technology in photography starting putting commissioned painters and artists out of business? It is simply the nature of things.

Here in Ottawa, Canada Uber was launched two weekends ago and just like everywhere else its launched, its meeting plenty of resistance from the city council. The officials are calling it illegal and are cracking down on the Uber driver charging them excessive fines and threatening with lawsuits. Everyone agrees that the existing cab services can use improvements, is more expensive for customers and causes an arm-and-a-leg for the drivers to obtain a license to run. So, why so much resistance against this sharing economy? It all comes down to the potential loss of tax revenue in the city coffers. Every step of the way, we have figured out how to tax goods and services and collect revenue for the state. The lack of understanding of the business and the technology causes the myopic politicians and city councillors to try and protect the incumbents.

I am not against taxing the services. I hate taxes just as much as the next person. But when things go wrong with any of these services, we rely on the government services for protection, support etc. The only way to keep these services functioning is through the tax dollars. My critique for the entrepreneurs in the disrupting business world is that, while they have created great businesses and products and empowered the masses with these services, they need to work with the politicians and the government to harmoniously operate. Companies like Amazon and Google have gone down this route in the tech industry already. Instead of fighting the government, Amazon (after some initial resistance) agreed to collect taxes on the products they sell and transfer it to the government. Google, instead of arm-wrestling with the government about their driverless car program, have hired ex-car execs and people from the public sector background to work with the local and state governments to move the program forward. With the right initiatives and agreements, progress can be achieved that is agreeable to everyone.

 Image Credit: stockmonkeys.com

Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI) Dividend Increase

Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI) announced a 2.3% increase in its cash dividend. The quarterly cash dividend will increase from $0.43 to $0.44 per share and payable on Nov 17, 2014 to shareholders on record as of Oct 31, 2014. The amount represents an increase of 7 percent from a year ago. The annual dividend rate goes up from $1.72 to $1.76.
Kinder Morgan reported that the cash available to pay dividends rose from $424M a year ago to $435M this period. The company remains on track to meet or exceed its published annual budget of $1.78B in cash available to pay dividends.

My portfolio consists of 100 shares of KMI, which increases my annual dividends from $172.00 to $176.00.