Buying CD’s Through Your Brokerage Account

For many years at this site I have advocated buying CD’s through your brokerage account (Fidelity, Vanguard, E-Trade, Schwab, etc…). If you buy a CD through your own bank you will usually get a far lower rate for what is a completely commoditized product (they are all guaranteed through the FDIC, after all) than what you can get if you shop around in a brokerage.

CD_Yields

This NY Times little data graphic found in their business section makes this point starkly. Let’s look at the differences between the “average” CD that your bank would offer versus what you can get from these other banks offering the highest yields:

– 6 month CD (0.16% average, 1% for highest paying CD)
– 1 year CD (0.27% average, 1.21% for highest paying CD)
– 5 year CD (0.87% average, 2.25% for highest paying CD)

In an era of ZIRP the difference between almost nothing (0.16%) and 1% is very significant. Someday if interest rates rise we may not have to scrape for nickels like this but in today’s environment you need to vigorously watch expenses, risks, and get returns where ever you can (without taking on more risk).

Purchasing New Stock in Spring

Thanks to sales we have some cash in the portfolio and we will be looking at additional stock purchases in the spring.

– Portfolio 1 – one stock
– Portfolio 2 – one stock
– Portfolio 3 – two stocks
– Portfolio 4 – no stocks
– Portfolio 5 – one stock
– Portfolio 6 – no stocks

We will also look to see if we should put stop losses on any of the stocks. All of the prior stop losses have expired (they are only good a certain amount of days under the brokerage system that we use).

Portfolio Six Updated March 2015 – And It’s Tax Time

Portfolio Six is our newest portfolio, at 3 1/2 years. The beneficiary contributed $1500, the trustee contributed $3000, for a total of $4500. The current value is $4530, for a gain of $30, or 0.7% or 0.3% / year across the life of the fund. You can go here for details or download the spreadsheet at the links on the right.

In 2014 we earned $122 in dividends, for a yield of over 3%. In an era of no interest on deposits, that is very good. We sold one stock in 2014, Yandex, the Russian search engine, for a slight loss at $35. The stock subsequently tumbled down to $14 with the impact of Russian sanctions and the crash of the Russian ruble.

Two of the stocks are oil stocks – Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell. When oil prices fell from over $100 / barrel to under $50 / barrel (which no one saw coming, at least not the formal analysts) these stocks fell. However, they are both well run companies and pay solid dividends and we plan to hold them for the longer term, unless new adverse events occur.

Two of the other stocks remain under pressure – Coca Cola Femsa, which sells Coca Cola and other beverages in Mexico and Central America, has fallen with the decline in the Mexican Peso vs. the US dollar. Mexico is a good long term growth market but this is on watch. Seaspan, the Chinese shipper, also fell but their very high dividend (7.3%) is still holding up.

Baidu (the Chinese internet company) and Procter and Gamble are both doing well.

Portfolio Five Updated March 2015 – And It’s Tax Time

Portfolio’s Four and Five are both 5 1/2 years old. The beneficiary contributed $3000, the trustee $6000 for a total of $9000. The value is $10,840 for a gain of $1840 or 20%, which works out to about 5.3% / year. You can see the details here or go to the link on the right.

We earned $260 in dividends in 2014, or a yield of approximately 2.6%. During 2014 we sold two stocks – Yandex (the Russian search engine) and China Petroleum. Yandex crashed much further after we sold it and China Petroleum is about the same.

In 2015 we sold Sasol (SSL) during the oil price crash – it is about where we sold the stock at ($35). We have over $1000 to invest so we will buy an additional stock in the spring.

The stocks are mostly doing well – we will keep an eye on Seaspan (SSW) the shipping company with the high dividend (over 7%).

Portfolio Four Updated March 2015 – And It’s Tax Time

Portfolios four and five are both five and a half years old. The beneficiary has invested $3000, the trustee $600, for a total of $9000. The fund value is $11,051 for a gain of $2051 or 22%, which works out to about 5.9% / year across the life of the portfolio. You can see the details here or go to the links on the right side of the page.

The portfolio has many dividend stocks and in 2014 earned $341, or a yield of about 3.2% / year. That is a great yield and helps performance over the long term. There were no stock sales in 2014.

Currently we have a few stocks on watch:

– Nucor (NUE) – the US steel maker downgraded its profit targets since the US is being “flooded” with foreign steel from loss making state owned companies (primarily in China). It is surprising that the stock didn’t fall further with this decline in earnings guidance
– Devon (DVN), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) and Statoil (STO) have all been hit by the crashing price of oil. Also Shell and Statoil are in UK Pounds and Norwegian Kroner and both of these currencies have declined vs. the US dollar, which adds to the difficulties. For now we are holding on to these although they also are on watch
– Coca Cola Femsa is the latin America (Mexico mainly) distributor of Coke. It has been hit by the declining peso like all foreign investments. We will hold but likely put a collar on this stock in case it falls much further. Would be good to have investments in Mexico since it is a rising economy

Portfolio Three Updated March, 2015 – and It’s Tax Time

Portfolio Three is our third longest portfolio, at 7 1/2 years. The beneficiary contributed $4000 and the trustee $8000 for a total of $12,000. The current value is $13,363 for a gain of $1,363 or 11% or 2.4% / year over the life of the fund. You can see the details at the link on the right or download the file here.

Portfolio Three had $213 in dividends in 2014, for a yield of approximately 1.8%. This is a reasonable return given that cash has essentially a zero return in an era of low interest rates. We sold 4 stocks in 2014 and 2 fell much further (Cliffs and CNOOC) while Splunk is mostly the same and Urban Outfitters gained about 20%.

We also sold 2 stocks in early 2015 (Weibo and Anadarko) so we have about $2200 to re-invest and will buy a couple of stocks in the spring.

Portfolio Two Updated March, 2015 – and It’s Tax Time

Portfolio 2 is our second longest portfolio, at 10 1/2 years. The beneficiary contributed $5500 and the trustee $11,000 for a total of $16,500. The current value is $24,497 for a gain of $9,397 or 57% or 7.4% across the life of the fund. Go here for details or download the spreadsheet from the link on the right.

During 2014 we sold 4 stocks; 2 are near their sales price, Urban Outfitters went up about 20% since then, and Yandex halved in price. So we are about even on that.

During 2014 the portfolio generated $449 in dividends; that’s a yield of about 1.9%. That’s pretty good when you consider that cash yields pretty much zero nowadays.

For stocks on watch – we still have TransAlta (Canadian utility) which has a high dividend and also some stocks that have had big gains, such as Toyota Motor and of course Facebook. Statoil and the 2 Canadian banks also have hit problems due to the commodity price crash (especially oil) and the rise of the US dollar which makes holding stocks denominated in Canadian dollars and Norwegian Kroner less valuable.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.