Argus Research, an independent equity research firm open since 1934, has issued a series of changes to its model portfolios now, as we are still in the early part of the year. This latest round of changes came in many portfolios, and this group is in the hypothetical equity income model portfolio.
Argus said that it is selling its position in Microsoft Corp.(NASDAQ: MSFT). While its diversity of five units is called a positive, the company is still highly leveraged to Windows. Senior Software Analyst Joe Bonner recently downgraded Microsoft to Hold on concerns about the initial uptake of Windows 8 and said that it is well behind the Windows 7 adoption curve. He also pointed out that Microsoft shares have declined approximately 11% since last year’s equivalent time, and its annualized dividend yield has been about 3%.
Another DJIA component, the Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO), also has been sold in the theoretical portfolio. Senior Consumer Analyst John Staszak recently downgraded Coca-Cola after a strong run-up in the stock. He thinks that Coca-Cola’s results should improve modestly in 2013, but he thinks slower sales of carbonated beverages in North America will hinder revenue and earnings growth. He also was concerned about the impact of economic weakness in Europe and slower growth in China That is after a 40% price rise in the stock, with an annual dividend yield of more than 2.5%.
Argus is adding stocks as a replacement with its theoretical cash on hand and proceeds from the asset sales. HCP Inc. (NYSE: HCP) is added as a health care facilities provider operating as a REIT. Its portfolio consists of senior housing facilities, skilled nursing facilities, life science facilities, medical office buildings and hospitals. With revenue and net operating income improving, Argus showed that management is a relatively heavy owner of the stock, and it also said that valuations are attractive compared to the peer group after raising its dividend.
A surprise addition in the income area is a new position in KKR & Co. (NYSE: KKR) units. This is private equity and investment firm Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts. The KKR units now offer a yield of about 5.9%, but Argus warns that individual investors in KKR need to be aware that they will be required to report their earnings using a K-1.
Spectra Energy Corp. (NYSE: SE) was also added to, but this is an existing position in its hypothetical equity income model portfolio. We would note that Spectra’s dividend yield is listed as 4.4% now that shares are closer to its 52-week lows.