How can I find a good investment?

Dividend growth investors, like me, want to buy companies with increasing dividends, and be able to calculate the percentage of the increase and note when the new dividend will be paid. One simple tool is found on the Wall Street Journal web site. The page shows the dividend declarations for that trading day after the market closes. I usually check it after 4:30 PM CST because it might not be available until then. If you miss a day or more, you can always view history using the calendar icon on the WSJ dividends page. Dividends are not posted for holidays or weekends, so those are days you just skip.

Here are the things I want to explore on the daily update:

  1. Any companies that increased their dividend.
  2. If any of my companies have increased their dividend. In yesterday’s list, my position SAR did announce an increased dividend. The increase is $0.01 per share, or 1.92% more. That isn’t terrific, but the yield on SAR is already 9.82%. SAR (Saratoga Investment Corp.) is a micro cap Business Development Company (BDC). Therefore, it isn’t suitable for many investors. However, I like BDC’s so I own shares of this quality BDC.
  3. Any companies that announced a dividend. Cindie’s mom owns shares of Cracker Barrel, and you can see that CBRL announced a dividend that will be payable February 5, 2019. As long as she owns her shares until 1/17/2019 (the Ex-Dividend Date) she will receive this dividend. It pays to be aware of the Ex-Dividend date when you are buying or selling stocks. You can find this information on the Fidelity Investments web site as well.

Just because a company increases or pays a dividend is insufficient data to determine if the stock is a good investment. You must also look at the P/E ratio, the dividend payout ratio and the historical dividend and earnings growth. The WSJ page doesn’t show those elements, so I look at the entries using the Fidelity Investment tools to see if any fit my buying criteria.

The Wall Street Journal also offers a free ETF screening tool. If you play around with it you can find ETFs that meet your requirements. For example, I entered a screen for mid-cap value ETFs with an expense ratio no greater than 0.35% and a dividend yield of at least 2.0%. This image shows the results:

WSJ ETF Screener


Link to WSJ Dividend Page: WSJ DIVIDENDS

Link to ETF Screener sample: WSJ ETF SCREENER