At a time when many savants are predicting that low volatility, dividend-paying stocks are the next big short, Gluskin Sheff chief economist David Rosenberg says growth stocks are a far better alternative for income.
While he didn't predict a disaster for "low vol" stocks like utilities and telecoms, Rosenberg told attendees at the seventh annual Inside Alternatives conference in Denver that growth stocks like Microsoft pay much higher dividends than 10-year Treasurys or other traditional investments for income-hungry baby boomers and they offer upside potential as well. The conference is sponsored by Financial Advisor and Private Wealth magazines.
He voiced skepticism about why anyone would pay 22 times earnings for publicly regulated utilities that are barely growing. Others have made the same critique about consumer staple stocks like Campbell's and Kimberly Clark.
Rosenberg acknowledged we are living in an upside-down world where bonds have provided capital gains and stocks have provided income since 2014. Right now, the "equity market is a more efficient way of delivering income," he said.
At some point, this is going to stop, he said. "There is an expiration date on this view," he said, though he was dubious about bonds returning to their traditional role of providing investors with income anytime soon.
Over the last 15 years, classic growth stocks like Intel, Cisco and Microsoft that once scorned dividends as an admission they lacked the imagination to come up with new concepts for capital spending projects have thrown in the towel and conceded they don't. Simultaneously, they are also recognizing that an older generation of investors is in desperate need of income.