The futility of selling early — Mind CTI again

As it is the case for all postings in this blog, my standard disclaimers apply for this posting.  However, since this posting discusses investments, I urge you to review the disclaimers laid out in the About section with extra diligence. Moreover, even if you have already reviewed these disclaimers in the past, you need to review them again, as they are subject to change without notice.  Do it now, and remember that whatever I say in this blog posting is simply my opinion — it is not science, it is not advice, and it is not an attempt to make you act in any way whatsoever.

…. And, if you find yourself enjoying this posting, consider supporting the blog through a donation. For your convenience, PayPal links are provided to the right and at the end of the posting.

446822940_bf49440a9c_b (1)Having read my earlier postings about a programmatic approach to investment by way of MNDO (start here,) the equity of Mind CTI, and my earlier postings about the potential folly of dividend speculation (start here,) a reader of this blog suggested to me that selling ones position of MNDO immediately before the ex-dividend date would be an appropriate strategy, capitalizing on the — and I quote — “stupidity” of the dividend speculators.

Although the notion of capitalizing on the greed and ignorance of dividend speculators does appeal to me, I do not believe the reader’s approach to be long-term viable.

The issue is one of tax, liquidity, transaction expenses, and timing.

Assuming a cyclic behavior consisting of sell-before-ex-dividend-date followed by buy-after-price-drop, which, of course, implies a holding period of less than 12 months, the investor would be subject to taxation on a short term basis, which for me, for instance, effectively would result in a Federal income tax hit climbing towards 40%, supplemented by a state and local tax bordering on 10%, for a total tax bordering on 50%.

Had I, for instance, acquired $100 thousand worth of shares in 2013 at an average price per share of $1.75, amounting to approximately 55 thousand shares, and sold these at today’s rate ($2.30 per share,) my pre-tax yield would be $125 thousand, or so (accounting for transaction expenses and supply/demand pricing issues,) for a net pre-tax gain of $25,000 and a post-tax gain of $12,500.

Naturally, this approach raises demand for liquidity and is impacted by transaction issues and expenses — and, importantly, it is characterized by a per share price risk and the broad assumption that the price will not go up immediately after the ex-dividend date adjustment. Moreover, the ugly pairing of requirement for superb timing (the cause of death of many a trader) and risk comes into play — in particular since it is ultimately impossible to know, for sure that: (1) an initial position can be secured, (2) that the initial position can be sold at a the required premium, (3) that a later position can be secured, and (4) that a dividend will actually occur.

A 12.5% gain on a six to nine months investment is, of course, not shabby when compared to the average 0% interest that your local bank savings account carries, but it does not in any way perform substantially better in the long run than does the pure dividend play, which with more than 55,000 shares, no transaction costs, and, critically, no per share price risk, handily and consistently delivers more than $12,000 after taxes, assuming a dividend taxation of 15%, and produces more shares — and thus more dividends — year after year.

Now, it would, of course, be possible to argue that applying this strategy for a position held in an tax-advantageous retirement vehicle such as an IRA might work (it would certainly negate some of the tax issues,) but, generally, tax-advantageous retirement vehicle are best suited for long term hold strategies and the use of these vehicles for other investment strategies is something that should be thought through very carefully.

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Please, sir, I want some more — Mind CTI redux

As it is the case for all postings in this blog, my standard disclaimers apply for this posting.  However, since this posting discusses investments, I urge you to review the disclaimers laid out in the About section with extra diligence. Moreover, even if you have already reviewed these disclaimers in the past, you need to review them again, as they are subject to change without notice.  Do it now, and remember that whatever I say in this blog posting is simply my opinion — it is not science, it is not advice, and it is not an attempt to make you act in any way whatsoever.

…. And, if you find yourself enjoying this posting, consider supporting the blog through a donation. For your convenience, PayPal links are provided to the right and at the end of the posting.

2163042781_29c776780e_oEarlier, I wrote about a programmatic approach to investment related to Mind CTI Ltd and its equity MNDO, laying out a simple formula that would have yielded an estimated 388% gain over a five year period:

(1) settle in for a long run, (2) pony up $100,000, (3) every year re-invest the entire dividend payout (less a mandatory 25% (or so.. the amount varies from year to year) dividend tax withholding) by buying additional shares exactly 90 days after the previous dividend was paid out, and (4) — and this is the really important step — ignore any and all temptation to trade the equity, game the system, or cash in on short term gains in the per share price.

My posting (read it here) generated quite a lot of traffic and follow-up questions, in particular after Mind CTI announced is fourth quarter and full year results for its fiscal year 2013 (read more about this here,) and — again — announced a REIT like dividend.

So without further ado, I provide more information related to my rudimentary modeling.

First, here is the previously published results table, updated with information about an element that I had not commented on: A U.S. tax credit available on top of the discussed position gains, amounting to almost $22 thousand over the period in question:

(c) Per Jacobsen, 2013 and 2014. All rights reserved

(c) Per Jacobsen, 2013 and 2014. All rights reserved

Please note that these computations are really rudimentary, making very simple assumptions about the tax rates and trade viability across the periods.

Ok, now that we got the disclaimer, let’s look at the evolution in position value, not including the $22 thousand tax credit:

(c) Per Jacobsen, 2013 and 2014. All rights reserved

(c) Per Jacobsen, 2013 and 2014. All rights reserved

We note a couple of interesting things…

First, the position value was at its peak ($518 thousand) in april of 2011, immediately prior to the exit of a very large institutional holder, whose position liquidation caused a drastic drop in the per share price.

Second, the position value was at its low ($59 thousand) in March of 2009, reflecting the overall market conditions.

Third, the appreciation since the low (from a low of $59 thousand to a high of $518 thousand) has been enormous, and to deviate from the programmatic approach when the position value dropped in conjunction with the market would have been a blunder of the highest magnitude.

When reflecting on the third point it is important to remember that a proper analysis of Mind CTI would have uncovered a very healthy, debt-free, cash-flow positive, and consistently dividend-paying business, and, so, it should have been clear that the market gyrations were — fundamentally — irrelevant.

So, in the immortal words of Mr. Bumble:

“Come, Oliver! Wipe your eyes with the cuffs of your jacket, and don’t cry into your gruel; that’s a very foolish action, Oliver.”

That’s it. Have a nice day.

Donations, please….

As usual, if you found this posting useful or entertaining — or if it saved you time, you can express your appreciation through donation via PayPal right now.   For this type of posting a one-off donation of $25 is suggested — however, any donation is, of course, appreciated.