KMP = Kinder Morgan Ponzi?

A few months ago, Kinder Morgan Energy partners came up on a stock screen of mine.  The stock has been performing well and the company is in a vital economic sector, so I was attracted to it.  But when I was reviewing the financials, I couldn’t help wondering about the apparent fact that the dividend payout currently exceeds the earnings cash flow.  KMP has been bulking up its capital and using some of the proceeds to maintain its dividend.  This smells Ponzi to me!  And given the forward economic climate, this also smells very risky.

When it was just KMP making me nervous, I didn’t feel like posting it, but I’ve seen a few other stocks looking the same way recently — particularly a couple of dividend-yield stocks in the telecom sector — and now I’m wondering just how deep the rot goes.

I know from a separate screen that there are very, very few U.S. companies with excellent financial ratings and low debt-to-earnings ratios. And the ones that I saw generally didn’t have exciting future prospects.

I haven’t seen the “deleveraging” that we were promised, and which I believe is vital to getting the next long bull run of economic growth rolling, so I expect a lot more stock-price volatility within the next couple of years.

Comments are closed.