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Invest like a legend: Geraldine Weiss Add to ...

Weiss, 88, began publishing “Investment Quality Trends” in 1966 (under the name G. Weiss, to hide  her gender), and has won accolades from, among others, “Hulbert Financial Digest,” which has been tracking more than 160 newsletters since 1980.

You’ve been following dividends for decades. How have things changed?

The Dow has changed a bit: In the 1970s and ’80s, it used to travel between yield extremes, where 3% was overvalued and 6% was undervalued. Now, it seems to travel between yield extremes where 2% is overvalued and 4% is undervalued. I think it has changed because of the tech stocks that have entered the index. 

What about the way investors approach dividend stocks?

I look at dividends not necessarily as an income factor, but as the only true measure of value in the stock market. Anything that doesn’t pay a dividend or some kind of return is a speculation—so dividends will always be a big factor in the stock market.

Has there been any change in the way companies approach dividends?

Blue-chip stocks have always paid dividends, and they should—they should share their good fortune with their stockholders. And income is really the main reason why an  investor would go into the stock market—to get a return on his investment dollar. We all hope for capital gains, but the only thing we can really count on is the dividend.

So what is the Dow Jones industrial average signalling in terms of its dividend yield?

When the Dow reaches a point where the yield is 2.1%, then it is considered overvalued. But I don’t advocate buying the Dow. There are many good-quality individual stocks that are not overvalued.

What do you think about Apple’s decision to pay a dividend?

A company that has been around as long as Apple and has been as innovative as Apple is a selfish company if it doesn’t want to share some of its good fortune with its stockholders.

You’re a competitive bridge player. There are many famous business and investing personalities who are also into bridge, including Warren Buffett…

I’ve played bridge with Warren Buffett. Once, when he called my office to arrange a game, my office manager announced, “There’s a character on the phone who says he’s Warren Buffett.” When I told her it really was him, she dropped the phone.

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