Anyone who has ever been pulled over by the cops for speeding knows all too well the pejorative query of the arresting officer: "What's your hurry?"
I mention this because it seems practically everyone these days is in a rush to ride the risk-trade and get back to financial freedom as soon as possible, a mystical place that used to go by the name breakeven.
But at least one investment pro is loath to bail on his blue-chips and dividends, preferring the steady, familiar predictability of McDonald's (MCD) - at an all-time high - to chasing the white hot momentum of a Netflix (NFLX) that's gained about 40% in the past month.
"We conclude that, while the Europeans may not like McDonald's, it is one of the last places they can afford to eat," says Matt McCormick, VP and portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor.
He says despite an obvious slowdown in Europe and the UK, the $100 billion heavy weight of the Consumer Discretionary sector saw strength in its sales in those regions with average meal costing below $6. He also likes their growth in emerging markets and the earnings that should generate to power future dividend increases, which have gone up for 35 straight years.
For the record, McCormick has been recommending McDonald's since appearing on Breakout last June. In fact, his four picks McDonald's, Intel (INTC), Digital Realty (DLR) and BCE (BCE) each beat the S&P 500 and collectively earned an average return of 17% versus 4% for the index. Shorter term however, McDonald's has been left in the dust. Its 1% advance in the past month trails not only the index, but the sector as well, though McCormick is unmoved.
The same can be said for his unwavering loyalty to Intel, which just reported 20% sales growth and better than expected earnings per share and cruised to a 4-year high. While Intel's 8% 1-month gain ranks it 30th out of 71 stock in the S&P 500 Technology Sector, McCormick would sooner badmouth the Cincinnati Reds than give up a share of the world's largest chipmaker.
"For every 3 chips that they sell, two of them are in emerging markets," he says, adding that they just increased their dividend by 31%, which pushed the yield to 3.2%.
And finally, he offers us a new name to follow, ONEOKE (OKE), a company he refers to as "a utility on steroids." While some worry about the seemingly endless decline in natural gas, McCormick point out that this a diversified Oklahoma-based player has only 11% regulated revenues and is a "dividend machine" that has pledged to increase its payouts by 50% by 2014.
And finally, he's so entwined with the dividend story that he predict Apple (AAPL) will end a 17-year drought and restore its cash dividend at some point this year, asking "Can you imagine the type of shareholders they would attract if they paid a dividend?"
What do you think... do you run with the risk trade or play it safe with the quality dividend theme?