Category Archives: Dividends

Thematic Reads: May 24, 2021

Thematic Reads: May 24, 2021

Thematic Reads

Each week Team Tematica consumes an immense quantity and range of content as we look to stay on top of the latest data and mine it for tailwind and headwind signals for our investment themes and indices.

Cleaner Living
Growing demand for items that claim to be better for you and the planet:

“Ford’s first electric pickup truck is here—and it’s ready to prove that anybody can own a battery-powered truck without sacrificing the important features that make a vehicle like this useful in everyday life. The 2022 F-150 Lightning amps up the utilitarian nature of a pickup, adding features like a unique front trunk and vehicle-to-home charging that make the ride unlike anything else on the market.”
The Ford F-150 Lightning is an electric vehicle for truck lovers

“Renewable power generation grew at the fastest rate for two decades in 2020 according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. 278 gigawatts of capacity was added last year, a 45 percent jump and the largest year-over-year increase since 1999. The growth was even more impressive given that it occurred in the midst of pandemic-induced supply chain challenges and construction delays.”
Renewable Energy Boomed In 2020

“California’s clean air regulator on Thursday adopted rules to mandate that nearly all trips on Uber’s and Lyft’s ride-hailing platforms have to be in electric vehicles over the next few years, the first such regulation by a U.S. state.”
California regulator adopts EV mandate for Uber, Lyft ride-hail fleets

Cyber Security & Data Privacy
Securing individuals and organizations against cyber threats and privacy violations:

“Ransomware especially has been in the spotlight recently and data from our own Unit 42 shows that the average ransom paid in 2020 tripled from 2019 and in 2021 it’s more than doubled again. The highest demand we’ve seen is $50 million, up from $30 million in 2020, with organized groups with near nation state discipline perpetrating coordinated attacks. The targets are not only corporations where healthcare and pharma is a focus with the pandemic, but also government organizations and shared infrastructure.
Palo Alto Networks (PANW) earnings conference call (May 20, 2021)

“CNA Financial, one of the largest US insurance companies, paid $40 million to free itself from a ransomware attack that occurred in March, according to a report from Bloomberg. The hackers reportedly demanded $60 million when negotiations started about a week after some of CNA’s systems were encrypted, and the insurance company paid the lower sum a week later.”
One of the US’s largest insurance companies reportedly paid $40 million to ransomware hackers

“To defend against these cyberassaults, more companies are going into the cloud. Per the Tracker, “Cloud systems do not provide ATO immunity, but they do offer some advantages. Four out of five survey respondents said that their cloud systems offered better visibility into attacks that bypass firewalls or other external security measures, allowing them to catch fraudsters in the act. Respondents’ biggest fraud-fighting frustration was the amount of time needed to manage security solutions, however.”
Hardening Merchants’ Digital Defenses Against Incursions From The Dark Web

“Stolen credentials play a major role in retail data breaches, according to the 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. Study results indicate that the top cyberattack patterns found in the retail sector stem from system intrusion, social engineering (such as phishing), and basic web application attacks. Of the data compromised in 165 incidents with confirmed data disclosure, 42% of the breaches reported involved payment data (42%), followed closely by personal data (41%). Credentials (33%) and other data types (16%) made up the rest of the confirmed data breaches.”
Stolen credentials are a retail hacker’s best friend

“The audacious ransomware attack that shut down a major fuel pipeline and sent Americans scrambling for gasoline in the Southeast this week was not the first time hackers have disrupted America’s aging, vulnerable energy infrastructure. And it’s unlikely to be the last.”
Pipeline Hack Points to Growing Cybersecurity Risk for Energy System

Digital Infrastructure & Connectivity
The Buildout and upgrading of our Networks, Data Storage Facilities, and Equipment:

“When we think about the general consensus from third-party research, you’re at about $1 trillion of semiconductor revenues by 2030. The demand driving that is broad-based. You’re seeing a handoff from consumer-oriented devices to something that’s far larger and more substantive around this fourth wave of compute, the data economy. By 2025, machines will generate 99% of the data. Humans will generate 1%. You’re seeing a decoupling of semiconductor demand for the first time in the industry’s history from population and population growth in consumer behavior.”
Applied Materials (AMAT) earnings conference call (May 20, 2021)

“… we’re expecting a really healthy environment, you know, 5G, being one of the big drivers, and also for us, you know, with 5G comes content growth, you know, in it – in a 4G phone, DRAM, there’s 3 gigs to 4 gigs of DRAM in a 5G phone to get the 5G experience. A minimum of 6 gigs, and we’ve seen skews at 8, 10, or 12, at even 16 gigs. So, you know, this will be a great content story for us this year in an environment where I think 5G has a really good demand environment just at the end unit level. So, you know, for us the outlook looks great.”
Micron (MU) CFO David Zinsner at the 2021 Barclays Americas Select Franchise Virtual Conference (May 19, 2021)

“Radio component revenue reached an all-time high in 2020, according to Strategy Analytics, which expects revenue to grow through 2025.”
5G growing rapidly despite component shortages

“We are also seeing early momentum in the ramping of key technology cycles that are long-term growth drivers for our business, such as 5G, 400 gig and Edge… In our Webscale business, we delivered our sixth consecutive quarter of strong order growth, which increased over 25% in the quarter, and over 50% on a trailing 12-month basis. Our Webscale customers are starting their 400 gig upgrade cycles and aggressively pursuing long-haul build-outs while our Carrier customers are exploring new architectures to realize the full potential of 5G.
Cisco Systems (CSCO) earnings conference call (May 19, 2021)

Digital Payments & FinTech
Companies leveraging technology to disrupt and improve the financial services and payments industries:

“Several big American banks, including JPMorgan Chase, are signed up for a government-backed pilot using alternative data to get credit to people with low or no credit scores, according to the Wall Street Journal. About 53 million American adults do not have regular credit scores, says the firm behind Fico scores. The problem disproportionately affects Black and Hispanic people, according to the CFPB.”
US banks to pilot credit for people with no credit score

“NatWest is now allowing customers to set their own daily digital bank transfer limits – a move designed to reduce the damage done by APP scams. NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank currently set a default bank transfer limit of £20,000 per day but this will be reduced to £5000 per day.
NatWest lets customers set daily bank transfer limits

“Visa research shows that enabling tap to pay on transit systems like these can be good for economic recovery, bringing more than a 15% lift in transactions from merchants in surrounding neighborhoods. MST is the fifth transit agency in the US to accept tap to pay for fares, following Chicago, Miami, New York and Portland, OR. MST is also the first public transit system in the country that is located outside of a large urban area to introduce tap to pay fares – demonstrating contactless payments as a good fit for any size agency looking to enhance the customer experience.”
Contactless Bus Payments Introduced in California by Monterey-Salinas Transit

“The financial crisis of a decade ago catalyzed many secular changes in the U.S. banking system, but few are starker than the collapse in new bank charters. According to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), between 2000 and 2008, well over 100 new bank charters were granted each year on average. A drought followed the financial crisis, however; between 2011 and 2016, just two charters were awarded in aggregate. Since 2017, the average number of charters granted has ticked up slightly but remains an order of magnitude shy of pre-crisis norms. Yet despite the broad disinterest in bank charters, we are seeing a surge of interest from an interesting source: fintech.
Banking On Fintech

Sustainable Future of Food
Companies addressing the challenge of providing healthy, affordable and nutritious food to a growing global population amid dwindling natural resources:

“Food manufacturer OsomeFood has debuted what it claims to be the world’s first nutrition-focused and plant-based hard-boiled egg, in an effort to provide consumers superfoods without the need of harming animals or compromising on health immunity benefits.”
Singapore Manufacturer OsomeFood Says It Has Created The World’s First Plant-Based Hard-Boiled Egg

“Spiking commodities costs are stirring up fears about food sustainability, and the trickle-down impact of higher prices on everything from cereal to peanut butter and chicken — which Cheerios (GIS), Skippy Peanut Butter (HRL) and Tyson (TSN) have all addressed recently. Still, interest in alternative foods is surging, with one vegan restaurant owner saying plant-based eating is ‘here to stay.’”
Plant-based protein is the ‘new wave’ after COVID-19

“In the scramble for a healthy alternative to cow’s milk that doesn’t cost the earth, a Singapore startup has developed a new type of dairy substitute made from microalgae. A claimed world-first, the algae-based milk is comparable in nutritional value to cow’s milk, but is made using a fraction of the energy, land and water.”
In the race for planet-friendly milk, Singapore startup substitutes dairy with algae

“We are seeing continued adoption on the precision ag front as you think about things like tractors, for example, with command center and premium activation. That’s grown pretty significantly this year, which is a positive trend. And we would expect as we move forward and we’re bringing out new products that, that trend would continue. Things like ExactRate, which will be coming through the early order program, See & Spray Select coming out as well.
Deere & Co. (DE) quarterly earnings conference call (May 21, 2021)

 

Tematica Research Indices

 

Thematic Reads: May 10, 2021

Thematic Reads: May 10, 2021

Thematic Reads

Each week Team Tematica consumes an immense quantity and range of content as we look to stay on top of the latest data and mine it for tailwind and headwind signals for our investment themes and indices.

Cleaner Living
Growing demand for items that claim to be better for you and the planet:

The clean movement is probably definitely the biggest thing to happen to the beauty industry in a long, long time. Just take a look around the next time you head to a major beauty retailer like Sephora, Ulta, or Target: Whole entire sections—both IRL and virtual—are now dedicated to showcasing the best skin, hair, and makeup products in the clean space.
Everything you need to know about the Clean Beauty movement.

Consumer habits are evolving, people have started to be concerned about what they are putting into their bodies, which in turn initiated a clean eating movement across the world. Now the emphasis pivots to what they are putting on their face. While commercial beauty brands are restructuring their beauty strategy, natural beauty products such as Tata Harper are feeding the needs of the new green consumer.
– The Rise In Clean Beauty Brands

House Democratic leaders are lining up behind a White House push to allocate $8 billion in taxpayer funding for the latest iteration of mail truck, paving the way for a fully electric fleet instead of the piecemeal strategy U.S. Postal Service leaders have been pursuing.
Push to electrify mail trucks gains wide support, an unlikely win for both DeJoy and Biden

Synergy Flavors (part of Carbery Group) has acquired savory flavor and ingredient supplier, Innova Flavors, from Griffith Foods Worldwide, ramping up its savory product development of plant-based alternatives.
Synergy Flavors acquires Innova Flavors fueling plant-based food and beverage product development.

Mercedes-Benz is giving a sneak peek of an electric van that’s among the models broadening its battery-powered range over the next year. The electric iteration of the Mercedes T-Class, dubbed EQT, will accommodate as many as seven passengers and launch in 2022, Daimler AG’s main division said Monday. It will flank the Citan commercial van due to be introduced later this year, a version of which will be battery-electric.
– Mercedes Unveils Electric Van for Growing Battery-Powered Lineup

 

Cyber Security & Data Privacy
Securing individuals and organizations against cyber threats and privacy violations:

A text-message scam that infects Android phones is spreading across the UK, experts have warned. The message – which pretends to be from a package delivery firm, prompts users to install a tracking app – but is actually a malicious piece of spyware.
Flubot: Warning over major Android ‘package delivery’ scam

Top U.S. fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline has shut its entire network after a cyber attack, the company said in a statement on Friday. Colonial’s network supplies fuel from U.S refiners on the Gulf Coast to the populous eastern and southern United States. The company transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products through 5,500 miles (8,850 km) of pipelines. Colonial Pipeline says it transports 45% of East Coast fuel supply.
– U.S. pipeline operator that transports 45% of East Coast fuel shuts entire network after cyberattack

Researchers on Thursday reported that despite a 50% increase in mobile device management (MDM) adoption during the past year, average quarterly exposure to phishing attacks on mobile devices in the financial sector rose by 125% – and malware and app risk exposure increased by more than five times.
– Financial sector saw a 125% increase in mobile phishing attacks during 2020

Apple (AAPL) recently rolled out its highly anticipated App Tracking Transparency feature with iOS 14.5, which lets users decide whether apps track their activity for targeted advertising. Overwhelmingly, users seem happy to leave app tracking disabled. Just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have agreed to app tracking after updating their device, according to the latest data from Verizon-owned analytics firm Flurry.
– Too Bad, Zuck: Just 4% of U.S. iPhone Users Let Apps Track Them After iOS Update

“Identity Security is at the center of every major industry tailwind, including digital transformation, zero trust, hacker innovation, and compliance. Digital transformation and the explosion of technologies applications and automation tools are not only blurring the line between a privileged user and a workforce user, but also between human users, applications and bots.”
CyberArk Software (CYBR) earnings conference call (May 5, 2021)


Digital Infrastructure & Connectivity

The Buildout and upgrading of our Networks, Data Storage Facilities, and Equipment:

This week I want to talk digital infrastructure, again. I say again because my most recent Financial Times column focused on the topic. In that column I probably was not as explicit as I should have been about why I think investors need to have some exposure to digital infrastructure. I am going to pass over the obvious demand drivers – you’d have to be in a cave not to understand what’s going on with the internet, digitalisation, 5G etc.
Stevenson: Put 10-20% of your assets in digital infrastructure

Cristiano Amon, the CEO-elect of mobile-phone chip maker Qualcomm (QCOM), rubs his hands in glee when you ask him to talk about 5G. And for good reason: The speedy new wireless standard is creating boom times for his San Diego–based company, which reported 52% revenue growth in its latest quarter.
Qualcomm Is a 5G Winner. Here’s Why the Company’s New CEO Is So Bullish on the Future.

The world’s digital connections are about to become broader and faster, providing a platform for every industry to boost productivity and innovation. We have identified hundreds of use cases across more than 17 commercial domains that can run on an enhanced digital backbone. This research focuses on four of them: mobility, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.
– Connected world: An evolution in connectivity beyond the 5G revolution

“Globally, 5G deployment is still in an early stage given that less than 20% of the global operators that currently use LTE have deployed 5G. The U.S. and Northeast Asia markets continue to deploy 5G aggressively for both public and private networks.”
PC-Tel (PCTI) earnings conference call (May 9, 2021)

 

Digital Payments & FinTech
Companies leveraging technology to disrupt and improve the financial services and payments industries:

The pandemic has not only altered consumers’ shopping behaviors, but it’s also changed how they pay for goods and services. A significant number of people in the US were already using proximity mobile payments regularly before the pandemic—about 72 million in 2019, according to our estimates. As more consumers experimented with different forms of payment in 2020, however, the number of proximity mobile payment users in the US rose by 29.0% year over year to 92.3 million. We expect the user base to surpass 100 million this year and growth to continue steadily through the end of our forecast period in 2025.
– More than 100 million Americans will use proximity mobile payments in 2021

The Mastercard (MA) New Payments Index shows 95% of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) consumers will consider using at least one emerging payment method, such as cryptocurrency, biometrics, contactless, or QR code, in the next year. Over two-thirds of respondents (65%) agree they have tried a new payment method they would not have tried under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has galvanised people to try flexible new payment options to get what they want, when they want it.
– Mastercard’s Payment Index Shows 95% Of MENA Consumers Want To Try New Digital Payment Methods

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) today launched the linkage of Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay real-time retail payment systems. The first of its kind globally, the linkage is the culmination of several years of extensive collaboration between MAS and BOT, both countries’ payment system operators, bankers’ associations, and participating banks.
– Singapore and Thailand Launch World’s First Linkage of Real-time Payment Systems

The adoption of digitisation in trade finance has been something of a “slow burn” as practices have historically relied on the transfer of paper documents between involved parties and largely manual processes. This vitally important area of financial services has trailed behind the digitisation progress that has been made, especially in the last decade, in consumer and retail banking.
– Digitising trade finance: the next frontier for financial services innovation


Thematic Dividend All-Star
Combining the power of rising dividends and thematics.

The first quarter’s uptick in interest rates has some investors concerned about the potential for stock market headwinds. But unlike bonds, stocks often rise in value when interest rates increase. Dividend growth strategies that focus on companies with the longest track records of consistent dividend growth tend to be all-weather strategies that have performed well during a variety of interest rate environments.
– When Interest Rates Are Rising, Your Dividends Need To Be Growing


Sustainable Future of Food
Companies addressing the challenge of providing healthy, affordable and nutritious food to a growing global population amid dwindling natural resources.

Wunda is a ‘fully versatile’ milk alternative for baking, cooking, frothing, and drinking either hot or cold, according to Nestlé, who is rolling out the new brand in France, Portugal, and the Netherlands.
Nestlé develops pea-based alt milk with “neutral taste” for versatility

Tyson Foods is expanding its plant-based protein line Raised & Rooted into hamburger patties and grounds, bratwurst and Italian sausages.
– Tyson expands Raised & Rooted offerings further into competitive plant-based market

Two-thirds (67%) of consumers consider it important that the products they buy are in recyclable packaging, and the same percentage consider themselves environmentally aware — the same share as before the pandemic, according to Trivium Packaging’s 2021 Global Buying Green Report.
– Consumer demand for sustainable packaging holds despite pandemic

During the past 50 years, the world’s population has grown about 2.1 times, and consumption has grown more; for some goods, much more. Between 1968 and 2018 (the most recent year for which we have global data), production of both primary energy and of steel rose 3.4 times, that of meat grew 3.5 times, and that of grain grew 2.6 times. The total number of cars on the world’s roads rose sixfold, and the number of revenue-generating passenger-kilometers flown (an industry metric) grew by about 24 times. But the rise in aquacultural production beats them all.
– The Fabulous Growth in Aquaculture

 

Tematica Research Indices

 

Thematic Reads: April 26, 2021

Thematic Reads: April 26, 2021

Thematic Reads

Each week Team Tematica consumes an immense quantity and range of content as we look to stay on top of the latest data and mine it for tailwind and headwind signals for our investment themes and indices.

Cleaner Living
Growing demand for items that claim to be better for you and the planet:

 Volvo AB (VOLVF), the world’s second-largest truck-maker, is looking to generate half of its sales in Europe from electric vehicles by 2030. The company recently announced three new heavy-duty electric trucks designed for intercity regional transport and urban construction. Production of the trucks is expected to start in the latter half of 2022.

Toyota Motor (TM) introduced the Toyota bZ4X Concept, the first of a global series of battery-electric vehiclesto be launched under the “Toyota bZ” brand umbrella.

German automotive company Daimler (DDAIF) shared it will create 1,000 new jobs for software programmers at its S-Class production facility to develop its planned operating system for electric vehicles. Daimler’s MBOS system, which will run electric-only vehicles, is expected to hit the market in 2024.

The Oprah Winfrey-backed oat-milk maker Oatly Group AB (OTLY) has filed to go public in the US and intends to raise at least $100 million.

Nestlé SA (NSRGY) is in talks to buy the maker of Nature’s Bounty vitamins for a price in the mid-single-digit billions, according to people familiar with the matter, as the Swiss food giant pushes further into nutritional offerings… In addition to Nature’s Bounty vitamins, Bountiful’s brands include Pure Protein, which makes protein bars, Osteo Bi-Flex joint-care supplements and Puritan’s Pride vitamins and supplements.
Nestlé Looks to Buy Maker of Nature’s Bounty Vitamins


Cyber Security & Data Privacy

Securing individuals and organizations against cyber threats and privacy violations:

The Biden administration is buckling down on cyber threats to the U.S. power infrastructure. The Department of Energy (DOE) announced a 100-day plan to help shore up the U.S. electric power system against cyber threats. The plan, rolled out with the private sector and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), is meant to help owners and operators develop more comprehensive approaches to detection, mitigation and forensic capabilities, according to the National Security Council.
Biden administration unveils plan to defend electric sector from cyberattacks

An ongoing phishing campaign is impersonating Michael Page consultants to push Ursnif data-stealing malware capable of harvesting credentials and sensitive data from infected computers.
Phishing impersonates global recruitment firm to push malware

Costco Wholesale (COST) warned American internet users to be wary of more than a dozen digital scams targeting its customer base. On its website, the American multinational corporation has published screenshots of 14 “prominent fraudulent emails, texts, and posts” in which cyber-criminals are impersonating Costco.
Costco Issues Scam Warning

Check Point reported March quarter results that topped top and bottom-line expectations. Exiting the quarter, deferred revenues were $1.46 billion, up 8% YoY. Per the company, “The cyber threat landscape is reaching new levels of risk and requires a holistic security architecture to prevent the next cyber pandemic.”
Checkpoint Software (CHKP), April 26, 2021


Digital Infrastructure & Connectivity

The Buildout and upgrading of our Networks, Data Storage Facilities, and Equipment:

“Several factors are at play in driving this robust wafer front end growth. First, secular tailwinds such as AI, 5G, and IoT continue to strengthen. And over the past year, COVID-19-related impacts like work and learn from home have accelerated adoption of these technologies.”
Lam Research (LRCX), April 21, 2021

“Compared to three months ago, we are seeing a significant increase in demand across all market segments and our product portfolio. The build-up of the digital infrastructure with secular growth drivers such as 5G, AI and High- Performance Computing solutions fuels demand for advanced and mature nodes in Logic as well as Memory. We now expect revenue growth towards 30% in 2021 compared to last year.”
ASML Holding (ASML), April 21, 2021

“In data center, we believe revenue bottomed in Q1 and will increase in Q2 as cloud digestion impacts begin to subside, and enterprise and government momentum continues.”
Intel (INTC), April 23, 2021

“We have partnered with leading brands across diverse verticals, such as Honda to innovate connected and autonomous driving; Deloitte and SAP to create a 5G and edge computing retail digital platform that will provide retailers with real-time operations data; and Dreamscape and Arizona State University to build and commercialize immersive learning and training.”
Verizon (VZ), April 21, 2021

“…the latest slew of UK government broadband funding, which has largely been based on clear and unambiguous objectives: providing gigabit-speed connections to 85 per cent of the country by 2025, be that through FTTP or 5G, or any other sufficiently-capable technology.”
Maybe high-speed internet is infrastructure after all, say US Republicans in proposal to spend $65bn over five years


Digital Lifestyle

The increasingly digital landscape that now underpins the entire consumer experience:

Walt Disney (DIS) and Sony’s (SNE) Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a multi-year content licensing agreement for US streaming and TV rights to Sony Pictures’ new theatrical releases across Disney+ and Hulu, as well as ABC, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX and National Geographic.

Digital Payments & FinTech
Companies leveraging technology to disrupt and improve the financial services and payments industries:

PayPal (PYPL) announced the launch of crypto on Venmo, a new way for Venmo’s more than 70 million customers to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency directly within the Venmo app.

Amazon (AMZN) is expanding Amazon One, its palm-scanning payment system to a Whole Foods store in Seattle, the first of many planned rollouts at other locations.

Juniper’s Digital Money Transfer & Remittances whitepaper says mobile transactions will represent an 89 per cent per cent share of total transaction value by 2025. The report also found that with shifting customer expectations, existing money transfer models face an increasing threat from instant payments, with domestic instant payment transaction values forecast to grow from $524billion in 2020, to $2trillion in 2025.
Mobile Transactions Will See Digital Money Transfers Soar to $3.4 trillion


Thematic Dividend All-Star
Combining the power of rising dividends and thematics.

 “The historical evidence strongly suggests that expected future earnings growth is fastest when current payout ratios are high and slowest when payout ratios are low.”
Does Dividend Policy Foretell Earnings Growth?


Sustainable Future of Food
Companies addressing the challenge of providing healthy, affordable and nutritious food to a growing global population amid dwindling natural resources.

Trimble (TRMB) and HORSCH announced a collaboration focused on developing solutions that enable autonomy in agriculture with the goal of building a future for autonomous machines and workflows in the industry.

Raven Industries (RAVN) purchased all of the intellectual property and patents of Jaybridge Robotics, an early developer of automated agriculture technology. Raven will leverage the portfolio with its continued development of Driverless Ag Technology — including integration of the technology into the company’s AutoCart platform.

Bear Flag Robotics tractors provide growers increased command and control to take control of any situation in the field, higher levels of safety for farmers and the machines and path generation technology to give operators total control
Bear Flag Robotics Autonomous Tractor

Tematica Research Indices

 

Sizing up thematic returns in February

Sizing up thematic returns in February

Equities continued to swoon during February as investors came to grips with the expanding impact of the coronavirus. Amid a growing sea of corporate warnings that led investors to question earnings forecasts for the current quarter as well as all of 2020, all the major stock market indices finished February down 6.4%-10.1%. The hardest hit was the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the US stock market barometer that is the S&P 500 fell 8.4% in February, which added meaningfully to its decline year to date. 

Despite investors taking profits in the Technology and Healthcare sectors, they along with Communication Services helped temper the market’s February selloff. Names like Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN), Biogen (BIIB) and Gilead Sciences (GILD) saw gains on advances in potential coronavirus treatment development in particular. While markets overall were impacted by unfolding events during the month Energy, Utilities and Consumer Discretionary names seemed to lead the way down. Muted demand for oil due to reduced manufacturing activity and fears of continued softening in the global economy saw oil prices drop almost 17% during the last week of the month. Unsurprisingly, cruise line operators Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCLH) and Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCL) were among the worst performers this month both posting losses over 30% with Carnival Corporation (CCL) not too far behind losing over 23% of its market value as those companies paired back 2020 expectations due to the coronavirus’s impact. The same was had with airlines with American Airlines Group (AAL) down 29.68% and Alaska Air Group (ALK) off 21.88% as they too canceled flights and reduced schedules owing to the virus.  

At Tematica we’ve often questioned the notion of the S&P 500’s construction as well as the ability of an 11-sector framework to accurately capture the evolving landscapes that we and other investors find ourselves confronting as structural changes associated with our 10 investment themes continue to unfold.  In our view a different perspective is needed, a thematic one, to properly identify those companies at the forefront of these unfolding structural changes. For example, cruise lines such as the ones mentioned above fall into the Consumer Discretionary sector while companies such as Omega Healthcare Investors (OHI) that offer long-term healthcare facilities is classified as Real Estate even though both are feeling the tailwinds of Tematica’s Aging Population investing theme on their respective businesses.

Another example of looking at the world thematically is found in the Tematica Research Cleaner Living Index, which focuses on the shifting consumer preference for cleaner products and services that are better for you, your body, your work, your workplace, and the environment.  Despite sharp February sell-offs in several index constituents, including Acuity Brands (AYI). Fresh Del Monte Produce (FDP) and Hain Celestial (HAIN), solar energy systems companies Sunrun (RUN) and SolarEdge Technologies ((SEDG), as well as plant-based alternative Beyond Meat (BYND) and Tesla (TSLA), led the Cleaner Index to slip by only 3.1% in February. That decline more than offset the index’s modest rise posted during January leaving it down 2.6% year to date vs. the S&P’s 8.6% drop at the end of February. 

Of note during February, 

  • Plant-based meat alternatives notched another win as Beyond Meat announced the Beyond Meat sandwich will be available at Starbucks’ (SBUX) nearly 1,200 coffee shops across Canada on March 3. The sandwich will include cheddar cheese and egg on an artisanal bun. Not to be outdone, Impossible Foods announced its plant-based meats will be available across Walt Disney (DIS) theme parks and cruise lines come Feb. 28. 
  • Confirming the drivers for Cleaner Living are global, during February it was reported by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) that 61.2% of Germany’s net public electricity generation was from renewable sources, marking a new monthly record. 
  • And while Tesla has an early lead in the electric vehicle space, BMW is set to take the wrap off its i4 electric concept car and General Motors (GM) is slated to discuss its electric vehicle and battery strategies at its upcoming EV Day on March 4. GM’s battery facing comments will be ones to watch ahead of Tesla’s “Battery Day” slated for April.

Amid the coronavirus headlines investors were digesting during February, there were two powerful reminders of the growing need for cybersecurity and digital privacy solutions. The first was the announcement from gaming and hospitality giant MGM Resorts International (MGM) that it had been the victim of a data breach in 2019. The second was a statement from the US State Department blaming the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU for the cyberattacks that hit Georgia last October and disrupted “several thousand Georgian government and privately-run websites and interrupted the broadcast of at least two major television stations.”

Those attacks are but the latest high-profile ones to be reported and point to the increasing need for companies, governments, other institutions and individuals to protect their data, especially as the regulatory environment could increase the frequency of financially motivated cyber-attacks. Each week in Thematic Reads, we share some of the latest headlines and news stories surrounding the Foxberry Tematica Research Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Index. As society becomes increasingly connected as part of our Digital Lifestyle investment theme and as new technologies associated with our Digital Infrastructure investing theme look to connect more devices than ever before, we continue to see an increasing demand profile for the constituents that comprise the Foxberry Tematica Research Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Index. During February the index fell 8.2% as gains registered in the shares of Cloudflare (NET), Norton Lifelock (NLOK) and ForeScout Technologies (FSCT) were offset by declines in Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Globalscape (GSB) and Mimecast (MIME) shares. 

Turning to the Tematica’s Thematic Dividend All-Stars Index, which is comprised companies with at least ten consecutive years of increasing annual regular dividend payments and whose business models will benefit from multiple thematic tailwinds tracked by Tematica’s Thematic Scorecard, its total return for February was -8.1% vs. the total return for the S&P 500 of -8.3%. Among the index’s 65 constituents, only Healthcare Services Group (HCSG), Albemarle Corp. (ALB) and Target (TGT) finished higher in February, leaving meaningful declines at Aaron’s (AAN), Nu Skin (NUS) and Invesco (IVZ) to have a greater impact on this equally weighted index. 

Generally speaking, companies that continually increase their dividends to shareholders tend to see a positive step function higher in their share prices. During the first two months of 2020, just over 25% of the index constituents announced fresh dividend increases including Aaron’s (AAN), Analog Devices (ADI), Digital Realty Trust (DLR), Best Buy (BBY) and AT&T (T). Given the positive impact of tailwinds associated with Tematica’s investment themes, we look forward to sharing news of new dividend increases at the other 72% of the index constituents in the coming months. 

This Dividend Aristocrat Is Well on Its Way to a ‘Coronation’

This Dividend Aristocrat Is Well on Its Way to a ‘Coronation’

Recently I touched on the several new additions to the S&P Dow Jones Dividend Aristocrats, a group of S&P 500 constituents that have increased their dividends for at least 25 years. Now, I am circling back to the latest dividend payment from an existing Aristocrat: PepsiCo (PEP) .

Widely known for its products that include Pepsi, Lays, Mountain Dew, Doritos, Gatorade, Tropicana, and Aquafina water, the company has been paying consecutive quarterly cash dividends since 1965. Indeed, 2019 marked the company’s 47th consecutive annual dividend increase, which has the company approaching the rarified air of the Dividend Kings. As a reminder, a Dividend King is an S&P 500 company that has increased its dividend for at least 50 consecutive years, an incredible achievement, which explains why there were only 28 such names in 2019.

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Disclosure

Want to Beef Up on Dividend Stocks? Here Are Some NOBL Opportunities

Want to Beef Up on Dividend Stocks? Here Are Some NOBL Opportunities

One of the time-tested strategies for investors is buying companies with an increasing dividend policy. To say it is one of the most loved and most watched strategies would be something of an understatement given the incremental income it generates for investors and the $6.7 billion in assets held by ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats exchange-traded fund (NOBL) , which tracks the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index. If there was any question as to the results of the strategy of buying a portfolio of companies with a long history of boosting their dividends, the below chart should be enough of an answer:

The companies that comprise the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index are a cross-section of S&P 500 constituents that have increased their dividends for at least 25 years. The index is equal-weighted in nature, which means the position size for each is the same, and the qualifying universe of companies is reviewed each January. In addition, per the index’s methodology document, prospective index constituents must also have a minimum float-adjusted market cap of at least $3 billion at the time of the rebalance data and have an average daily value traded of at least $5 million for the three months prior to the rebalancing reference date.

Last year, four companies were added to the Dividend Aristocrats: Caterpillar (CAT), Chubb Limited (CB), People’s United Financial (PBCT)  and United Technologies (UTX), which lifted the number of constituents to 57 up from 53 in 2018. With January 2020 having come and gone, the S&P has added…

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Disclosures

This Company Presents Shareholders With a Dual Dividend Gift

This Company Presents Shareholders With a Dual Dividend Gift

Everybody loves getting a present, be it an expected or unexpected one, and we are certainly in the present-giving time of year. For investors, the unexpected present could be a surge in the share price of one of their holdings, a larger-than-expected dividend increase or, in some very special instances, a special dividend.

Special dividends are dividends paid to shareholders that are outside the usual quarterly dividend payment, and as its name suggests, they are not expected recurring payments. That said, there are some companies that tend to pay special dividends to shareholders on a frequent basis. Very recently one of those companies not only declared its latest special dividend but also announced a 20% increase in its quarterly dividend.

That company is… Read more here