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3 “Strong Buy” Dividend Stocks Yielding Around 7%

These past 12 months have seen the S&P 500 return its best performance ever – an 80% gain as of the end of March. But are the good times wrapping up? Some historical data would suggest that the bulls will keep running. Since 1950, the market has seen 9 sustained, year-long runs with a rolling return of 30% or better on the S&P 500. These periods have seen an average one-year gain of 40% (the median has been 34%) – and none of these bull markets has ever ended in its second year. But investors should not expect the same sky-high returns in the coming 12 months as they have just seen in the last, according to Callie Cox, a senior investment strategist at Ally Invest. “[I]t’s typical for the bull market to lose a little bit of steam going into year two… Expectations start rising and makes it harder for the market to… beat everybody’s expectations. And that leaves a greater chance for disappointment. And to be clear, again, we’re not calling for doom and gloom. We just think the market is due for a breather up in the next quarter or two,” Cox opined. For investors focused on returns, the prospect of a lower sustained gain in share appreciation will naturally prompt a look at dividend stocks. Reliable, high-yield dividend payers offer a second income stream, to complement the share appreciation and ensure a solid return for investors. With this in mind, we used the TipRanks’ database to pinpoint three stocks that meet a profile: a Strong Buy rating from Wall Street’s analysts and a dividend yield around 7%. Trinity Capital (TRIN) We’ll start with Trinity Capital, a venture debt company that makes capital available to start-ups. Trinity’s investment portfolio totals $494 million, spread over 96 companies. The company entered the public markets earlier this year, closing its IPO early in February. The opening saw 8.48 million shares become available for trading, and raised over $105 million after expenses. In its 4Q20 report – the company’s first quarterly report as a public entity, covering the last quarter as a private firm – Trinity showed net investment income of $5.3 million, with a per-share income of 29 cents. This was more than enough to fund the dividend, paid in December at 27 cents per share. Since then, Trinity has declared its 1Q21 dividend, raising the payment by a penny to 28 cents per common share. Trinity has a announced a policy of paying between 90% and 100% of taxable quarterly income in the dividend. At the current rate, the payment annualizes to $1.12 per share, and gives a yield of 7.6%. This is significantly higher than the average yield of 1.78% found among peers in the financial sector. In his note on the stock, Compass Point analyst Casey Alexander states his belief that Trinity has a clear path toward profitable returns. “TRIN operates within the attractive, growing venture debt ecosystem. As such we expect strong net portfolio growth followed by improved NII and increasing dividend distributions, with potential upside from equity/warrant investments,” Alexander noted. To this end, Alexander rates TRIN a Buy, and his $16.75 price target implies an upside of ~14% for the next 12 months. (To watch Alexander’s track record, click here) This newly public stock has already picked up 5 analyst reviews – and those break down to 4 Buys and 1 Hold, for a Strong Buy consensus rating. Trinity shares are selling for $14.74; their $16.46 average price target suggests the stock has ~12% upside potential. (See TRIN stock analysis on TipRanks) Energy Transfer LP (ET) With our second stock, Energy Transfer, we move into the energy midstream universe. Midstream is the necessary sector connecting hydrocarbon exploration and production with the end markets; midstreamers control the transport networks that move oil and gas products. ET has a network of assets in 38 states, which link three major oil and gas regions: North Dakota, Appalachia, and Texas-Oklahoma-Louisiana. The company’s assets include pipelines, terminals, and storage facilities for both crude oil and natural gas products. The big news for Energy Transfer, in recent weeks, comes from two sources. First, on April 9, reports came out that that the US Army Corps of Engineers is not likely to recommend shutting down the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This project, when complete, will move oil from Alberta’s oil sands region across the US to the Gulf Coast; the Biden Administration wants to shut it down for environmental reasons, but the industry is fighting to keep it. And second, two largest shareholders of Enable Midstream have approved a proposed merger, by which ET will acquire Enable. The merger is projected to be worth $7 billion. Earlier this year, Energy Transfer reported 4Q20 EPS of 19 cents per share, on income of $509 million. While down year-over-year from the 38 cent EPS reported in 4Q19, the recent result was a strong turnaround from the 29-cent net loss reported in Q3. The company’s income is supporting the current dividend of 15.25 cents per common share. This annualizes to 61 cents, and give a yield of 7.7%. The company has paid out a dividend every quarter since Q2 of 2006. Covering this stock for Credit Suisse, analyst Spiro Dounis writes: “We updated our model to reflect a mid-2021 completion of the Enable Midstream acquisition. We view the deal as accretive and see additional potential upside resulting from operational/commercial synergies. ET highlighted potential synergies around both ENBL’s natural gas and NGL assets, noting that gas synergies could be realized fairly quickly while NGL opportunities are more long-term as legacy contracts roll. Upwards of ~$100mm of NGL uplift over the next several years doesn’t appear unreasonable, in our view.” Dounis also notes that the main risk to the company arises from DAPL, which may still be shut down by the Biden Administration. Even so, he rates the stock an Outperform (i.e. Buy), with an $11 price target indicating a 39% one-year upside. (To watch Dounis’s track record, click here) Wall Street’s analysts can be a contentious lot – but when they agree on a stock, it’s a positive sign for investors to take note. That’s the case here, as all of the recent reviews on ET are Buys, making the consensus rating a unanimous Strong Buy. The analysts have given an average price target of $11.60, indicating ~47% upside from the current share price of $7.94. (See ET stock analysis on TipRanks) Oaktree Specialty Lending (OCSL) Last but not least is Oaktree Specialty Lending. This company is one of many specialty finance providers, making loans and credit available in the mid-market segment, to smaller firms that would otherwise have difficulty accessing capital. Last month, Oaktree Specialty Lending completed a merger with Oaktree Strategic Income Corporation (OCSI). The combined company, using OCSL’s name, has more than $2.2 billion in assets. Oaktree’s investment portfolio totals more than $1.7 billion, primarily in first and second liens, which make up 85% of the company’s investment allocations. Oaktree finished 2020 with its fiscal first quarter, ending December 31. In that quarter, the company increased its dividend payment by 9%, to 12 cents per share, or 48 cents per share annualized. At this rate, the dividend yields 7.25% — and marks the third quarter in a row of a dividend increase. Oaktree has kept up reliable dividend payments for more than three years. Among the bulls is Kyle Joseph, a 5-star analyst with Jefferies, who puts a Buy rating and an $8 price target on this stock. His target implies room for 20% upside potential in the next 12 months. (To watch Joseph’s track record, click here) “OCSL’s conservative strategy in recent years has ultimately paid off, as the BDC is deploying dry powder into higher-yielding investments. Credit performance remained solid through the MRQ, while fundamentals are encouraging… We believe the BDC has sufficient liquidity to support near-term opportunities and believe the company is positioned to take advantage of the recent economic volatility, which was particularly highlighted by the recent 9% increase in the quarterly distribution… In the longer term, we believe OCSL represents an attractive investment,” Joseph wrote. Overall, OCSL has received 3 recent Buy reviews, making the analyst consensus rating a Strong Buy. The stock is currently trading at $6.66 and its average price target of $7.33 indicates ~10% upside from that level. (See OCSL stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey

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Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. The company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents.

Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.

Yahoo Finance notes, “Facebook has had its share of controversies this year.” Starting in January, Meta-owned WhatsApp got caught up in a huge controversy after the messaging app announced a new privacy policy (Terms of Service). WhatsApp said it would collect user information and share it with third-party apps for a better user experience. However, the app gave users no choice but later made modifications to the policy under pressure. Similarly, the company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents showing the company’s problematic practices. It was revealed that Meta-owned Instagram had a negative impact on teenage girls, but the company did almost nothing to rectify the problem.

Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.

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However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.

On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.

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Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal

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In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.

In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.

Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws

It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.

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Russian social media laws

As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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