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Tosh Zhang steps down as Pink Dot 11’s Ambassador, netizens express disappointment over announcement

In an unprecedented turn of events, actor-singer Tosh Zhang of Ah Boys To Men fame has stepped down as one of Pink Dot’s Ambassadors for this year, after a slew of homophobic tweets from 2010 to 2013 were unearthed just hours after he was announced as one of four notable individuals who had taken up the role for the movement’s 11th edition.

Pink Dot SG, in a Facebook statement on Sat (18 May), said that while Mr Zhang’s decision to withdraw himself from the role of a Pink Dot Ambassador came as “a surprise”, given that they were seeking to discuss the recent incident with him, the movement respects his decision to step down from the role, and expressed its hope that Mr Zhang will “continue to stand up for love and equality as a strong ally of the LGBTQ community”.

“We believe the evolution of Tosh’s views over the years is a demonstration of the empathy and understanding that many Singaporeans are capable of,” said Pink Dot SG.

Many netizens appear to be disappointed over Mr Zhang’s decision to step down as Pink Dot 11’s Ambassador, as they believe that he has demonstrated a genuine change of heart as a straight ally for LGBTQ persons through his advocacy over the years, which is a far cry from his days of perpetuating homophobia several years ago:

A couple of commenters have also urged Pink Dot to continue reaching out to Mr Zhang in the hopes that he will retract his decision to step down as the movement’s Ambassador:

Sarah Yip, the netizen who had first brought Mr Zhang’s “problematic” tweets to light, came out in defence of her actions, suggesting that her intention for exposing his tweets was not an attempt at “dragging” him or “cancelling” him, but to “confirm that he has the capacity for growth and change by admitting his faults” and to highlight that “discrimination isn’t always overt”, as words have the potential to harm in a situation where power dynamics and privilege are skewed:

One commenter in particular raised the issue of the Pink Dot’s organisers’ choice to opt for celebrities – the majority of whom are straight – to represent the movement, instead of “ordinary citizens” who are LGBTQ persons themselves, as he was sceptical that the celebrities, with their fame and heterosexual orientation, could relate firsthand to LGBTQ Singaporeans who face “prejudice every single day”:

The post Tosh Zhang steps down as Pink Dot 11’s Ambassador, netizens express disappointment over announcement appeared first on The Online Citizen.

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Make $218 in Passive Monthly Income With This Leading Financial Giant

Modern skyscrapers in business district

Investors are always looking for ways to increase their passive income for their retirement needs and wealth accumulation goals.

Passive income that is secure and steady, safe and reliable, in good times and in bad times.

Insurance companies provide these characteristics for investors, and none better than Intact Financial Corp (TSX:IFC), Canada’s largest home, auto, and business insurer that has been a consolidator in a fragmented market.

As an illustration of the fragmented nature of the market, we can look to the market share statistics. Intact currently has a market share of 16%, its closest competitor has a market share of 10% and the top five have a market share of only 47%.

So we can see the opportunity that Intact has to continue to be a consolidator with many years of growth ahead,  thus providing shareholders with many years of growth and passive income from a leading, high-quality company with a strong history of shareholder value creation and solid business practices and management.

Mature industry

The Canadian property and casualty insurance industry is a mature industry operating within a highly fragmented market, so Intact has grown through acquisitions to its leading position today, with approximately $10 billion in direct premiums written and a $15 billion investment portfolio.

Size and scale

This leading position affords Intact with the size and scale that has helped the company to drive down costs and bring up returns, further driving its leading position.

There is no better illustration of this than Intact’s combined ratio performance, which measures the profitability and financial health of insurance companies, and is calculated as the total claims plus expenses divided by earned premiums.

The lower the ratio, the more profitable the company.

Over the last 10 years, Intact’s combined ratio has averaged 95.4%, compared to the industry’s combined ratio of 99.7%, so we can see the edge that Intact has.

Final thoughts

If you invest $100,000 today, you will receive $2,610 in annual dividend income (or $218 a month), as Intact continues to work at growing in size, market share, and returning cash to shareholders.

In the last 10 years, Intact has grown its dividends at a 9.1% compound annual growth rate, and with continued acquisitions and market share growth, we can expect this type of dividend growth to continue.

Management expects that 15-20% market share will change hands in the next 5 years. Given that barriers to entry are high in this business, this leaves Intact well positioned to continue to be the consolidator in Canada and in the U.S.

5 TSX Stocks for Building Wealth After 50

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Fool contributor Karen Thomas has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Intact is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.

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Professionals Warn: 3 Well-Known Stocks That Could Punish Your Portfolio Very Soon

Business accounting concept, Business man using calculator with computer laptop, budget and loan paper in office.

Hello again, Fools. I’m back to call your attention to three stocks recently downgraded on Bay Street. While we should always take professional opinions with a grain of salt, analyst downgrades can often call our attention to hidden risks.

And for bargain-hunting value investors, they can even be an interesting source of contrarian buy ideas.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

Dimming near-term

Leading off our list is online gambling specialist The Stars Group (TSX:TSGI)(Nasdaq:TSG), which Desjardins analyst Maher Yaghi downgraded to “hold” from “buy” on Thursday. Yaghi also lowered his price target on the stock to $35 (from $37.50), representing about 90% worth of upside from current levels.

Yaghi’s call comes in response to Stars’ soft Q1 results, which were impacted by foreign exchange volatility and operational issues. While Yaghi still likes Stars’ potential over the long run, he says that growth upside might be limited in 2019.

“Guidance for 2019 is potentially at risk if we do not see a material reversal in results in the coming quarter,” said Yaghi. “Hence, while we still like the long-term prospects for the business, we believe a more cautious view is warranted until we have more confidence in the company’s operational performance.”

Stars shares are up about 9% in 2019.

All shopped out

Next up we have e-commerce technologist Shopify (TSX:SHOP)(NYSE:SHOP), which Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Essex downgraded to “underweight” from “equal-weight” on Wednesday. Essex also raised his price target to US$209 (from US$173), representing about 25% worth of downside from current levels.

Morgan Stanley’s call comes on the heels of Shopify’s recent outperformance, which Essex calls “unwarranted.” While Essex acknowledges that Shopify is an industry leader, he thinks that the valuation has far too much optimism baked into it.

“In addition to a model that is increasingly becoming transaction-based over time, we see a number of risks that could limit the company’s ability to bring unit economics, and therefore terminal valuation, in-line with that of large enterprise-focused peers,” said Essex.

These include a growing reliance on an SMB installed base, elevated customer churn, and low gross margins.”

Shopify shares are up a whopping 98% in 2019.

Real estate bubbled

Rounding out our list is retail real estate owner SmartCentres REIT (TSX:SRU.UN), which Desjardins analyst Michael Markidis downgraded to “hold” from “buy” on Monday. Markidis maintained a price target of $34, almost exactly where the units sit today.

According to Markidis, the company’s current valuation and recent decline in net operating income (NOI) should give investors some pause. Markidis even lowered his 2019 and 2020 FFO per unit forecasts from $2.35 and $2.57, respectively, to $2.19 and $2.24.

“The 0.2-per-cent year-over-year decline in same-property NOI in 1Q19 was largely due to the closing of 21 Bombay and Bowring stores aggregating to 103,000 square feet,” wrote Markidis. “We believe SRU will successfully backfill these unplanned vacancies; however, the effort will likely take 12–18 months to unfold.”

SmartCentres is up about 11% so far in 2019.

The bottom line

There you have it, Fools: three recently downgraded stocks that you might want to check out.

As is always the case, don’t view these downgrades as a list of formal sell recommendations. View them instead as a starting point for more research. The track record of analysts is notoriously mixed, so plenty of your own homework is still required.

Fool on.

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So if you’re looking to get your finances on track and you’re in or near retirement – we’ve got you covered!

You’re invited. Simply click the link below to discover all 5 shares we’re expressly recommending for INVESTORS 50 and OVER. To scoop up your FREE copy, simply click the link below right now. But you will want to hurry – this free report is available for a brief time only.

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Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Tom Gardner owns shares of Shopify. The Motley Fool owns shares of Shopify and Shopify. Shopify is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.

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A Super-Cheap Dividend Stock for Your Passive-Income Fund

Glass piggy bank

Who says you need to pay a pretty penny to get robust dividends?

Industrial Alliance (TSX:IAG) is a Canadian insurer and diversified financial firm that has one of the cheapest stocks on the entire TSX index.

The 3.62% dividend may not seem like much when you consider that a 4-5% yield is standard for most financials. When you have a look under the hood, however, it’s more apparent that Industrial Alliance also has one of the more conservative payout ratios out there.

If the company wanted to, it could easily raise its dividend to match or even exceed that of its bigger brothers in the insurance scene. Industrial Alliance’s management team doesn’t seem to want to engage in a competition among the financials to see who’s got the biggest dividend. And that’s a good thing if you’re looking for the right blend of dividends, growth, and relative stability.

With a payout ratio that’s usually well below the 30% mark, it’s apparent that there’s an aura of conservatism ingrained in Industrial Alliance’s corporate structure. The company doesn’t try to overextend itself with its dividend, investment approach or any other part of its business, and because of this, the firm has managed to fare better than most other non-bank financials in times of turmoil. Just have a look at a longer-term chart, and you’ll see that Industrial Alliance is one of the few Canadian insurers to move above its pre-recession highs.

Yes, a bigger dividend would be more attractive to prospective investors. The lower-than-average dividend yield, which has averaged 2.7% over the past five years, along with the firm’s smaller $5.4 billion market cap, has likely acted as a deterrent to most income-oriented investors.

For those looking for deep value, robust dividend growth, and top-notch risk management for a non-bank financial, though, it’s easy to forgive Industrial Alliance for its small dividend. It may be small, but it’s far more durable, and it’s subject to a higher magnitude of growth over the long term. Management knows that the insurance and financial services businesses can be fickle in times of economic recession, so they’re just playing it safe by maintaining a higher degree of financial flexibility. That’s a shrewd decision, if you ask me.

Back to the valuation. At the time of writing, the stock trades at an 8.5 forward P/E, a one times book, and a 0.4 times sales, all of which are considerably lower than the five-year historical average multiples of 11.4, 1.3, and 0.6, respectively. While financial stocks are indeed in a rut, I think Industrial Alliance’s valuation is too good to pass on as it’s a historically cheap stock that recently became much cheaper.

The 3.62% yield is also pretty bountiful, and when you factor in the potential for constant raises, Industrial Alliance should be seen as a preferred non-bank financials for your passive-income fund.

Stay hungry. Stay Foolish.

5 TSX Stocks for Building Wealth After 50

BRAND NEW! For a limited time, The Motley Fool Canada is giving away an urgent new investment report outlining our 5 favourite stocks for investors over 50.

So if you’re looking to get your finances on track and you’re in or near retirement – we’ve got you covered!

You’re invited. Simply click the link below to discover all 5 shares we’re expressly recommending for INVESTORS 50 and OVER. To scoop up your FREE copy, simply click the link below right now. But you will want to hurry – this free report is available for a brief time only.

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Fool contributor Joey Frenette has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

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3 Key Reasons to Buy This 2.8% Dividend Yielder Today

Man making notes on graphs and charts

With interests in almost 51,000 residential units predominantly in and around urban centres in Canada, Canadian Apartment Properties REIT (TSX:CAR.UN) is well positioned to continue to benefit from growth in urban centres and upward pressure on rental rates and occupancy levels.

Canadian Apartment Properties just reported first-quarter 2019 results, and it was consistent with all the good stuff that we have come to expect from this REIT, further solidifying my positive thesis on the stock.

Here are the three key reasons to buy this dividend stock.

Operating revenue growth

Operating revenue grew 8% to $181.5 million in the quarter, as occupancy remained strong and stable at 98.7%, net average monthly rents continued to increase (up 3.7%), and margins continued to strengthen.

Consequently, net operating income grew 10.8%, funds from operations increased 17.3%, and funds from operations per unit increased 6.7%.

European expansion going well

Canadian Apartment Properties owns approximately 83% of “ERES,” and as the REIT attempts to create a Europe-focused multi-residential REIT, with properties in the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, and Belgium, we will see benefits of this expansion in its scale and scope.

In the first quarter, revenues increased 7.3% in the region, with Ireland posting strong recurring revenues of $1.96 million and fees that were up 29%.

Recall that 2018 results were already proving the value of this diversification out of Canada, with rapidly rising occupancy levels from 94.8% to 97.9% in 2018 and a 13% increase in net average monthly rents.

Strong financial position

All this is backed by a strong financial position, proving to investors a level of safety that is invaluable.

The REIT’s dividend yield is currently 2.8%, with a payout ratio of 68.5%, a 1.75 times debt service ratio, and a 3.46 times interest coverage ratio. With ample liquidity of $142 million from the REIT’s credit facilities.

Finally, the April 2019 $345.1 million equity offering was well received by the market, and the stock is trading 11.5% higher year to date and only 5% lower than March highs.

Final thoughts

The REIT’s investment qualities are highlighted in two simple statements that reflect its quality and safety:

The bulk of the REIT’s net operating income comes from properties in Ontario (51% of net operating income), where occupancy has been stable in the last year at 99.4%, and net average monthly rents has been increasing and is up 5% in the last year.

The REIT’s objective is to provide unitholders with long-term, stable, and predictable monthly cash distributions, while growing distributable income and unit value through active management of its properties, accretive acquisitions, and strong financial management.

With Canadian Apartment Properties, you’ll get steady income and long-term gains.

5 TSX Stocks for Building Wealth After 50

BRAND NEW! For a limited time, The Motley Fool Canada is giving away an urgent new investment report outlining our 5 favourite stocks for investors over 50.

So if you’re looking to get your finances on track and you’re in or near retirement – we’ve got you covered!

You’re invited. Simply click the link below to discover all 5 shares we’re expressly recommending for INVESTORS 50 and OVER. To scoop up your FREE copy, simply click the link below right now. But you will want to hurry – this free report is available for a brief time only.


Click Here For Your Free Report!

More reading

Fool contributor Karen Thomas has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

Continue Reading →

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