From corporate and > municipal bond funds to infrastructure and utilities, there s an indisputable, unquenchable and seemingly unstoppable bid for income. It s almost as if investor cash is choking on the 0.75% yield in money market funds and searching for something -- anything -- that throws off a dividend.
On that list, although not yet top of mind for many, are telecom stocks. They are higher since we mentioned them last month, yet still showing promise for their potential price appreciation, as well as their comparatively attractive yields.
Even amid a renewed global appetite for risk, telecom is legitimately strong sector. According to data from Bespoke Investment Group, 100% of telecom stocks are now trading above their 50-day moving averages, better than the S&P 500 (72%) and even utilities (97%).
That s important because, as we ve pointed out in the past, investors should focus on buying strongly performing assets, not just stocks that pay dividends. Receiving a dividend payment each quarter feels great, but most payouts have a negligible effect on your return if and when the stock tanks.
Conversely, a strong stock s price appreciation usually far outweighs its dividend income. For example, AT&T 6.4% annual yield looks attractive, but so does the 5% jump in shares just since last month.
Don t Hang Up on Europe
Telecom Italia (TI), Portugal Telecom (PT), France Telecom (FTE), - 6 months>
Even a seemingly staid industry like slow-growing telecoms have special situations, including distressed European companies hit especially hard by the debt collapse. Portugal Telecom yields 6.4% and boasts operations in Portugal and Brazil, as well as Angola, Namibia, Macau and East Timor. Telecom Italia, which yields 4.7%, and France Telecom, which now pays 9.8%, are recently strong stocks coming off of long-term multi-year lows.
A number of ETFs offer exposure to a broad selection of international telecom. Both iShares S&P Global Telecommunications Sector Index Fund and SPDR S&P International Telecom Sector boast 4% dividend yields, double-digit 3-month performance and exposure to global leaders like Telefonica (, Vodafone (, BT Group and NTT DoCoMo .
Roam If You Want To
iShares S&P Global Telecommunications Sector Index Fund (IXP), SPDR S&P International Telecom Sector (IST) 2 years>
At the time of writing, Hoenig s fund held positions in many of the securities mentioned.