Scott Kubie has been using dividend-focused exchange-traded funds for several years. But recently he thinks these vehicles, which focus on dividend-rich pockets such as U.S. utilities, have become over-mined territory. “Investors have been buying high-dividend stocks as a substitute for bonds, even though they’re clearly not,” says Kubie, the chief investment strategist of CLS Investments. “The big question is whether or not people are overpaying for high dividends. And in a lot of cases the answer is yes.” Because dividends have historically accounted for about 40% of total stock market returns, they’re still an important part of his investment strategy. But there’s a difference between funds that simply offer the highest yielders and those whose companies can show dividend growth at a healthy clip. Kubie is now focused on the latter.

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