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Is Your Vehicle on the "Most Hackable" List?

My first car was a bone-stock 1929 Ford Model A coupe that has been in the family since it was new.

My late grandfather – a machinist on the Lehigh Valley Railroad – drove the car as his everyday vehicle until the late 1940s. My Dad restored the car in his mid-teens and drove it through his high-school years.

And I did the same…

  • These Special Dividends in 2012 Help Investors Beat the Fiscal Cliff If the fiscal cliff goes into effect and the president's healthcare bill is upheld, the dividend tax rate could triple next year - which is why companies are looking to help out investors in the way of special dividends in 2012.

    Since the end of September to mid-November, 59 companies in the Russell 3000 stock index announced a one-time special dividend, up from about 15 in the same period last year.

    And it's not just special dividends that are helping investors - regular dividends are being altered as well.

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) just announced its fourth-quarter dividend payout, originally scheduled for Jan. 2, will now be paid on Dec. 27.

    "It's a foregone conclusion the rates are going up -- it's just a matter of how high they go," Todd Lowenstein, a Los Angeles-based money manager with HighMark Capital Management Inc. told Bloomberg News. "When you know that 15% tax rate is going away and you have excess cash buildup, it makes sense to return some of it back to shareholders now."

    As things currently stand, the top tax rate on dividends will go from 15% to 43.4% at the end of the year, causing companies to seriously consider offering a special dividend.

    Special dividends offer investors a "twofer": Besides collecting a large dividend payout before it's taxed at a higher rate, investors will enjoy higher share prices as special dividend-paying stocks get a boost from the news.

    So where can investors find these special dividends?

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  • Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) is Looking More and More Like a Dividend Stock Since the height of the dot.com boom, the transformation of Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) has been extraordinary.

    These days, the Silicon Valley Internet giant looks more and more like a dividend stock rather than an explosive growth company.

    In fact, last Wednesday, the San Jose-based behemoth increased its dividend rate by a whopping 75% (from 8 cents per share to 14 cents) starting with the present quarter. That gives shares of Cisco a new dividend yield of roughly 3% which among the highest of major tech stocks.

    For investors seeking a reasonably safe return and a less volatile investment, a great deal of value can be found in Cisco these days since the company now plans to return half of its cash flow to investors by way of dividends and stock buybacks.

    And while the company may not post eye-popping revenue growth year-after-year, Cisco does appear poised to post healthy results and robust cash flow for years ahead.

    That means Cisco's dividend will be both safe and stable.

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