By now, you’re familiar with how we score stocks for our monthly recommendations. In this post we’re going to use General Motors Company to practice scoring so you can see how easy it really is. One of the goals of this blog to empower you to take control of your financial future by investing your money by yourself. It’s really not that scary and, with a few basic rules, pretty safe.
This is a screen capture from Google Finance on March 14, 2016 (https://www.google.com/finance). To use our system, this is all you need. No need to worry about complicated stock analysis or expensive “hot” stock tip newsletters. Remember, the companies on the S&P 100 are all big, established companies so they’re all pretty safe. All we’re trying to do is pick the best company at the time from a list of great companies. If we do that we’ll also achieve our other goal – to sleep well at night. Let’s use the data from Google Finance to score GM.
The stock is currently trading at 20% below the 52-week high ((38.99-31.18)/38.99). In other words, it’s on sale for 20% off. It’s only fair to point out that lots of other stocks on the S&P 100 were more than 20% off their high but we’re just using GM as an example and sale price is only one of the factors we consider. We give it a score of 3 for being on sale (Choosing a Stock – Part 3: Buy on Sale). The dividend is 4.87% ((0.38 x 4)/31.18). Most online services calculate that automatically for you which saves some paper and pencil work. It earns a score of 4 for the dividend yield (Choosing a stock – Part 2: It’s all about the dividend!). The P/E ratio is 5.19 and the EPS is 6 which get scores of 5 (Choosing a stock – Part 5: Does the company deserve the price?) and 2 (Choosing a stock – Part 6: How much of the value will be mine?), respectively. Those scores add to 14 (3 + 4 + 5 + 2). On it’s own, that score means very little, but with experience you’ll learn that it’s actually really good – usually the top stocks score between 13 and 16. If you did the same for all the stocks on the list, you’d see that, for March, GM tied with three other companies that month – Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (TSE: POT), Metlife, Inc (NYSE: MET), and Banco Santander (NYSE: SAN). Of those three, we recommended GM because Potash Corp is experiencing continued uncertainty in the price of potash and Santander is a bank in a foreign market – both riskier than we like to suggest. Neither of those is on the S&P 100 either so we don’t recommend those unless you are able to tolerate a little more risk. While Metlife was a little farther off its 52-week high, it paid a dividend of only 3.74% compared to the 5.2% (at that time) GM offered. BTW, GM is up 6% since we recommended it two weeks ago and Metlife is up 7% so you wouldn’t have gone wrong with either of them. Just sayin’.
We’re convinced (and our track record proves it if you check out our portfolio details) that you could do quite well following our simple system. Of course, if you really like this kind of thing and don’t mind spending some more time you can do more in-depth analyses of stocks but we recognize that most of us would simply rather spend our time doing lots of other things we enjoy. The appeal of our method is simplicity. The idea is passive income, after all.