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Chuck Norris Facts: The Aging of the Baby Boomers

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Actor and martial arts legend Chuck Norris quoted me in a piece he published today about the aging of the Baby Boomers: Chuck Norris Bows to Healthy Seniors.

Here’s an excerpt:

The entry into “senior” membership in this country is rarely looked at as something to be celebrated. “Over the Hill” novelty items have long been a thriving industry – from gift boxes featuring prune juice and anti-aging soap, to birthday cards mocking the mobility, intellect and sex drive of the no-longer-young. It’s good for a laugh. Others see it differently, as a sign of the need for a deep-rooted change in society’s view of aging. As, in a society so captivated by youth culture, a form of dismissing a club that they, if they’re lucky enough, may one day be a member.

By 2060, people 65 and older will constitute one in every four U.S. residents, roughly 98.2 million people. Of this number, 19.7 million will be 85 or older. Accurate information and continued and accelerated research on the aging process are critical as we age as a population. We also cannot forget about the mass of reinforcements on the way. According to Baby Boomer Magazine, every eight seconds a Baby Boomer in this country turns 50.

According to the American Geriatrics Society, only about 10 percent of U.S. medical schools require work in geriatric medicine. As the oldest of an estimated 77 million baby boomers approach their 60s, the elderly and their concerns can be expected to inevitably move higher on the national agenda. According to John Rother, policy director for the AARP, a major change on the perception of aging is on the way…

“The Boomers, as a generation, were the single most important economic force of the past 70 years,” adds Charles Sizemore, chief investment officer of Sizemore Capital Management in Dallas. As more Boomers cross the line into senior citizenship, Sizemore believes that this powerful shift in demographics will reshape America’s society and economy.

It’s hard to believe Mr. Norris is a senior citizen himself. But I also heard that Chuck Norris fought Father Time… and won.

You can read the full article here.

I can now cross “Being quoted by Chuck Norris” off of my bucket list. Have a great weekend.

Photo credit: Carlos Killpack

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Gold Really Isn’t All That Special

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Photo credit: jirotrom

I shared my thoughts on gold with Jeff Reeves for his recent article in USA Today.

 

You’ve seen the ads for gold in your Internet browser or during commercial breaks on cable news. “Gold is the ultimate safe haven,” they claim, or “Gold is the only true currency in the world.”

And in a year like this one, those marketing messages seem to add up. After all, gold prices are up more than 25% so far in 2016 amid plenty of uncertainty — including, most recently, the United Kingdom’s groundbreaking Brexit vote to leave the European Union, which has thrown the economic alliance and its shared currency into turmoil.

But is gold really a must-own investment in 2016, or just a glittery fad?

“The mystique around gold can get a little kooky, actually resembling a fundamentalist religion. ‘Gold is the one true currency’ is something I hear often, and I roll my eyes every time,” says Charles Sizemore, principal of Sizemore Capital Management in Dallas. “Gold is just a commodity like any other. It’s better suited as a store of value than, say, cattle or corn, because it is imperishable. But it’s still just a shiny metal.”

Sizemore acknowledges gold’s long-term underperformance but says the precious metal still can serve a useful purpose for investors making more tactical trades — say, those hedging against the risk of inflation or looking for an alternative investment to stocks in the very short term.

“I say this mostly joking, but I consider gold a little like a handgun,” Sizemore says. “It’s something that is good to have, just in case. But you hope you never have to use it.”

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Protecting Against An Inflation Surprise

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I don’t see much in the way of inflation coming down the pipeline. In fact, I see the same deflationary forces that are plaguing Japan and Europe to continue nipping at our heels for the next several years.

But… let’s say I’m wrong. Let’s say something comes out of left field that ignites inflation. What then?

I gave my thoughts on inflation to Kira Brecht, writing for US News and World Reports:

“Real estate is a natural inflation hedge that also tends to pay decent current income. A basket of REITs is generally a good addition to any portfolio, and now more than ever,” says Charles Sizemore, founder of Sizemore Capital Management.

One option for investors includes the Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ). Sizemore calls it “a very solid option. It gives broad diversification to the REIT sector and has the lowest fees of any of its competitors.”

Sizemore says the best advice for investors now may be to stay flexible.

“Be willing to invest in new ways you’ve never invested before,” he says. “We’re in uncharted territory. We’ve never had negative interest rates, nor have we had this level of central bank manipulation. We don’t know how this story ends, so we need to stay nimble and flexible.”

You can read the full article here.

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Searching for Dividends in the Retail Sector

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I gave my thoughts on the retail sector to Reuters’ Caroline Valetkevitch. Here is an excerpt of the article:

Some of the best deals at big retailers like Macy’s, Staples and Gap are not in their stores but on the stock market: their dividends are through the roof.

After a Wall Street selloff hit shares of stores that turned in weak earnings for the latest quarter, the companies are sporting yields at historically high levels…

But experts warn that unusually high dividend yields can be a trap, and retailers more typically are seen as cyclical stocks with below-average yields…

Nonetheless, some investors think the leap is worthwhile. Charles Sizemore, who focuses on dividend stocks as chief investment officer of Sizemore Capital Management in Dallas, said he owns and is bullish on shares of Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT), both yielding roughly 3 percent and with histories of raising their dividends.

He said he would shy away from smaller specialty retailers. “Retail is volatile because consumer tastes change, and the entire sector is undergoing a structural change because of e-commerce.”

Still, he doesn’t think retailers in general are at risk of having to slash their dividends like many energy companies have been forced to do. They are still making enough money to cover their dividends, and that wasn’t the case with the most stressed oil companies in recent months…

Many high-yield retailers have solid balance sheets, even if their earnings are weak, said Sizemore. “If anything, they would be raising their dividends, because they have nothing else to do with their cash.”

You can read the full article here.

High dividend yields in the retail sector are essentially a product of two factors:

  1. Investors have dumped the sector en masse, pushing stock prices down.
  2. Facing a dearth of opportunity to expand and reinvest in their businesses, retailers are choosing to spend more of their cash on dividends.

The entire retail space is being transformed by the likes of Amazon (AMZN) and its peers, but in an otherwise overpriced stock market, some of the beaten-down retailers are finally cheap enough to warrant consideration.

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What’s Ahead for Ford and GM?

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Photo credit: Adam Dooley

I recently gave my thoughts on Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) to US News and World Reports’ Lou Carlozo:

“Ford and GM have both had excellent runs operationally,” says Charles Sizemore, a portfolio manager on Covestor and founder of Sizemore Capital Management in Dallas. “Sales have been robust and profits have followed. Yet Wall Street seems unduly pessimistic about their prospects going forward, pricing in pretty significant sales declines.”

Another reason for the pessimism revolves around a bad accident that hasn’t even happened yet: skyrocketing interest rates.

“Yes, rising interest rates — if they ever actually happen — are bad for auto sales, which depend on credit,” Sizemore says. “I get that. But if the economic outlook is as bad as the prices of auto stocks suggest, then U.S. stocks should not be trading at a Shiller price-to-earnings ratio of 26. So either investors are wrong about auto stocks — or they’re wrong about the rest of the market.”

You can read the full article here.

I’m currently long both General Motors and Ford in my Dividend Growth portfolio and expect both to deliver outsized total returns in the year  ahead.

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