Barrick Gold (GOLD)*
Annual Dividend: $0.32 per share annually
Sectors: Gold mining
Barrick Gold Corp (GOLD) is considered the Best-in-Breed gold miner, engaged in production and sale of gold and copper as well as related activities such as exploration and mine development. The company holds interests throughout the world in the form of Barrick Nevada, Golden Sunlight, Hemlo, Jabal Sayid, Lagunas Norte, Lumwana, Porgera, Pueblo Viejo, Turquoise Ridge, and many more.
A hedge against the unlimited printed of fiat currencies and the unstable nature of gold ETFs, Barrick Gold is the Pandemic Portfolio’s protection against financial unstability due to the pandemic.
Annual Dividend: $2.80 per share annually
Sectors: Big Box Retail, International Growth
Costco (COST) is the leading big-box membership retailer and is the second biggest retail chain in the world second only to Amazon (AMZN). Costco management practices ESG principles (Environment – Social – Governance) by looking out for its employees, its shareholders, its customers, and its communities.
Key to Costco’s success is how it makes money – it makes almost no money from the items and services it sells. Costco’s profits come from annual membership dues, growth in membership, retention of existing members, and expansion into developing countries.
Crown Castle (CCI)*
Annual Dividend: $4.80 per share annually
Sectors: 5G, Technology, Internet
Crown Castle International (CCI) specializes in leasing cell phone towers and offering fiber-optic cable solutions to the major phone service providers including Sprint (S), T-Mobile (TMUS), AT&T (T), and Verizon (VZ).
CCI has a long track record of good performance, however, recently Elliot Management, an activist investment firm, opened a position in CCI with a plan to extract more value for the company.
Elliot’s history of bringing out value in companies – sometimes aggressively – combined with the introduction of 5G makes CCI a company worth investing in.
Digital Realty (DLR)*
Annual Dividend: $4.48 per share annually
Sectors: The Cloud, Data Center, Internet, Technology
Digital Realty Trust (DLR) owns data center, colocation, and interconnection properties supporting cloud and information technology services, communications, and social networking including data centers for clients in financial services, manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and consumer products.
At first glance, investing in a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) which owns commercial real estate properties in the middle of a pandemic that’s transformed the world into a Work-From-Home (WFH) economy might seem like a really bad idea, but that’s where knowing what your companies do and own becomes the top priority.
As bizarre as this sounds – Digital Realty Trust is not only the best real estate play for the pandemic, it’s also a very legitimate play on the growth of cloud data, Software As A Service (SaaS), and growth in the technology sector over time as more and more companies move from traditional on-site server services to working entirely in the cloud, a move further accelerated by the WFH trend.
Annual Dividend: $2.04 per share annually
Sectors: The Cloud, Gaming, Software, Technology
Microsoft (MSFT) is likely unknown to no one, makers of the world’s #1 operating system, Windows, along with the most popular office software suite, Microsoft Office.
Once a stodgy slow-growing company, Microsoft has transformed itself from being a stodgy software company into a diversified technological powerhouse, dominating everything from Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud data with its Azure service, e-sports and e-gaming with its Xbox video game studios, and much more.
Annual Dividend: $4.09 per share annually
Sectors: Consumer Products, Global Growth
Pepsico (PEP) is the maker of Pepsi, but also the owner of a diversified selection of brands including snacks and foods. You probably know their brands but didn’t know Pepsico owned them including Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos, Cap’n Crunch, Pastaroni, Quaker Oats, Rice-a-Roni, Aquafina, Mountain Dew, H2oh!, Gatorade, Manzanita, San Carlos, Agusha, and more.
In this portfolio, Pepsico offers security since, during a recession, food stocks tend to outperform as people must always buy food – no matter how dire their economic situation may be. Plus, Pepsico’s 3.11% dividend yield is nice to have in an investment.
Pepsico is Best-in-Breed in the space, even more so than competitor Coca-Cola (KO) thanks to its excellent management and diversified portfolio of brands which makes the company a lot more than a “sugar water manufacturer.”
Annual Dividend: $5.00 per share annually
Sector: Healthcare Solutions
UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH) provides healthcare solutions to employers and employees, operating under four different subsidiary names in the United States: UnitedHealthcare, OptumHealth, OptumInsight, and OptumRx.
With an aging baby boomer population and continued health risks facing every American, healthcare providers will continue to be a growing sector, and the Best-in-Breed is UnitedHealth.
While experiencing significant growth over time, the healthcare sector can be particularly volatile as it is often the target of politicians threatening to transform the entire business model. However, now that Joe Biden is the presumptive Democrat nominee going into the 2020 election, concerns for UnitedHealth’s future as a business have all but evaporated.
Waste Management (WM)*
Annual Dividend: $2.30 per share annually
Waste Management, Inc. (WM) provides waste management, recycling, and environmental services to residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout North America.
In addition to disposal sites, WM also owns material recovery facilities (MRF) and is developing landfill gas-to-energy conversion facilities as well as transfer stations.
Also, a surprising ESG (Environmental-Social-Governance) play, Waste Management supports the communities in which it operates in a variety of philanthropic ways.
I add to Barrick (GOLD) & UnitedHealth (UNH); take profits in Costco (COST) & Digital Realty (DLR); and review my strategies for Crown Castle (CCI), Microsoft (MSFT), Pepsico (PEP) & Waste Management (WM).
I take profits in Crown Castle (CCI), Microsoft (MSFT), Pepsico (PEP), and Waste Management (WM); I add to Barrick (GOLD); and I reinvest dividends nearly everywhere else. A busy month!
I collect dividends in Barrick (GOLD), Microsoft (MSFT) and Waste Management; take some profits in Digital Realty (DLR) and provide a strategy update for the rest of the portfolio.
It’s the one-year anniversary of the Pandemic Portfolio so we take a look at its annual performance! Plus, I disconnect AT&T (T); take profits in Costco (COST) and Pepsico (PEP); write put options on Silver (SLV); and give updates for Crown Castle (CCI), Digital Realty (DLR), Microsoft (MSFT), UnitedHealth (UNH), and Waste Management (WM).
I pick up the phone on AT&T (T); take profits in Crown Castle (CCI) and Digital Realty (DLR); and collect dividends on Pepsico (PEP); plus the usual gang of updates.
The Pandemic Portfolio goes monthly and I add to Barrick (GOLD), Crown Castle (CCI), Digital Realty (DLR), Microsoft (MSFT) and Pepsi (PEP) plus I reinvest dividends in UnitedHealth (UNH) and give updates on Costco (COST) and Waste Management (WM).
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