Sector Overview – Healthcare REITs

Healthcare REITs provide a great investment opportunity that has caught the attention of investors over the last decade or two. The focus of these real estate companies is, as the name suggests, on healthcare. Companies in this sector hold interest in senior housing facilities, skilled nursing facilities, medical office buildings, hospitals etc. Some of these companies may hold interest in only one or two of the mentioned building types, while others may be more diversified. My Sector Overview – Utilities post generated a lot of interest from readers and I decided that a Sector Overview – Healthcare REITs would provide some good visibility for investors considering this sector.

Why Invest in Healthcare REITs

The case of investing in healthcare REITs is really strong when one simply looks at the demographics. The richest generation — the baby boomers — is now starting to retire. According to this 2010 research report from Pew Research, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 each day for 19 years! Baby boomers make 26% of the total US population, and considering that most of them will require long-term care as they get older (our elderly now live longer thanks to the advancement in health and medical care), the investing case is pretty sound.

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How to Invest in Water – Water Utilities

The next hot investment is water. Water, freshwater to be particular, will have a profound impact on human civilization in the coming decades. Naturally, the savvy and prudent investors will have some exposure to water in their portfolio, as the value of water rises. In this series of posts, I will cover some obvious and not-so-obvious ways to invest in water. This the first post of the series and we look at the most obvious of the investment vehicles available for water, i.e.,  water utilities.

The advantage of investing via utilities is that the companies provide a crucial service and have been around for over a 100 years, having stood the test the time. Lucky for income investors, the water utility companies also pay a decent dividend and all companies mentioned here are proven dividend growers.

How to Invest in Water

The water utilities industry is fairly small, with just a few players, each covering a small region of the country. The major players are summarized below. Only companies paying dividends are profiled in this article. In addition, there might be other companies that operate in utilities, but have water as just one segment of the business, instead of the main focus. This list looks are pure-play water utilities.

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Sector Overview – Utilities


The utilities sector has seen a fair bit of correction as investors have sold off this bond-substitute as the interest rate jitters took hold of emotions. The Utilities SPDR ETF (XLU) is down approx 9% YTD. This has pushed the valuation to attractive levels for some utilities and I am looking to initiate positions in this sector. Regular readers of this blog are familiar that I recently sold my position in a utilities ETF (BMO Utilities ETF – ZUT.TO) that had exposure only to 12 companies and all exposed only to the Canadian economy. There were a few other reasons for selling that ETF – one of the main ones was the fact that I wanted dividend growth from my holdings. In my quest to narrow down utilities and find one to invest in, I have been doing some research and decided to share the details on how I am narrowing down my pickings. This way, you can see how I am picking my investments. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.

Note that the tables below show the data that interests me. The columns are extracted from Dave Fish and Michael Weber’s CCC lists. Other investors may give more weight to other metrics (including myself). While this exercise is supposed to help me narrow down companies to research, I may go back and revisit the whole list and start looking into researching even if it failed on one criterion which caused it to get dropped from the list.

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Are Tobacco Stocks Still A Good Investment?

Tobacco Stocks

One category of investments that are popular with investors and have done well over the years are the Sin Stocks. These are investments in industries and sectors that are considered unethical or immoral, which include companies in alcohol, tobacco, sex-related, weapons manufacturing and military industries. This post will take a close look at the tobacco industry and presents some of the risk/reward considerations to keep in mind and evaluate: are tobacco stocks still a good investment?

I personally have no qualms about investing in the sin stocks for the sake of ethics, as any company that is worth its salt is probably stepping on other’s toes. The business world is brutal – and needs to be, in order to survive and be successful. Jason at Dividend Mantra had a post touching on this subject recently – entitled How Ethical Can an Investor Be? I agree with his points where he points to the questionable behavior of smartphone sweatshops and other industries. Same goes for the industries that most people consider benign, such as say, the food industry – if anyone takes the time to look into how animals are raised in our current conventional animal farming, it is truly horrifying. But that is a story for another post. Let’s jump into the subject of tobacco stocks.

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