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Here's a Solid Investment Your Portfolio Needs – The Motley Fool Canada

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When market uncertainty abounds, investors tend to flock to more defensive investments. Fortis (TSX:FTS)(NYSE:FTS) is a great example of a defensive investment, which is a worthy addition to nearly any portfolio. But Fortis isn’t just another solid investment that you should consider during a downturn; Fortis can provide income and growth in any market.

Here’s a look at why your portfolio needs Fortis, perhaps now more than ever.

Fortis is the solid investment option your portfolio needs

Let me start off by saying that Fortis is huge. The company is among the 15 largest utilities on the continent and boasts over $57 billion in assets. Fortis has 10 different utility operations located in Canada, the U.S., and the Caribbean. Those operations are mostly regulated, providing a steady stream of revenue to the company. In fact, 99% of the company’s earnings stem from regulated utilities.

How does that work? In short, Fortis negotiates long-term contracts known as power-purchase agreements (PPAs). The PPA stipulates how much power Fortis sells and at what rate. PPAs often span decades in duration, which effectively means that as long as Fortis keeps the power running, the company has a steady, recurring source of revenue.

This factor alone makes Fortis an incredibly solid investment option to consider during a downturn, but there are still other points to mention. Specifically, let’s talk about expansion.

Utilities are typically stereotyped as lacking in growth. The argument often cited is that with a predictable and stable revenue stream, there is little need or financial muscle to pursue growth options. Fortunately, that stereotype doesn’t apply to Fortis.

Fortis has completed a series of well-executed and increasingly larger acquisitions over the years. Those acquisitions have helped the company enter new markets as well as provide a source of growth for Fortis’s dividend (more on that in a moment).

In terms of results, in the first fiscal of 2020, Fortis earned $312 million, or $0.67 per common share. By way of comparison, in the same quarter last year, Fortis earned $311 million, or $0.72 per share.

What about income?

Fortis provides investors with a solid and reliable quarterly dividend. The 3.49% yield currently on offer is not the highest yield in the market, but it is stable and growing. In fact, Fortis is one of a handful of companies that have provided annual upticks to its dividend going back decades. In the case of Fortis, the company has provided investors with a whopping 46 consecutive annual hikes.

Turning to the future, Fortis continues to forecast annual upticks of 6% through 2024. This makes the stock a great and solid investment option for income-seeking investors as well.

Final thoughts

No stock is without risk, and in times of uncertainty, we tend to gravitate back towards what we view as safer investments. Utilities such as Fortis are prime examples of this. That being said, don’t take that to mean that you should only invest in Fortis during a downturn. Fortis is a solid investment option for long-term investors that should be core to any portfolio, irrespective of any downturn.

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Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou owns shares of Fortis Inc. The Motley Fool recommends FORTIS INC.

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Foreign investment in Dubai plummets in first half 2020 – The Journal Pioneer

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Foreign direct investment in Dubai fell by 74% in the first half of the year compared to the same period of 2019, as the coronavirus pandemic stalled parts of the global economy.

The Middle East financial and trade hub drew in 12 billion dirhams ($3.3 billion) in the six months to June 30, according to a government of Dubai statement released on Monday.

The statement did not provide a comparative figure, but the government last year reported 46.6 billion dirhams in first half foreign direct investment.

Sami al-Qamzi, head of Dubai’s economic department, said the pandemic has presented challenges but that stimulus packages had driven “positive developments” in the investment environment.

Dubai’s government media office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for further comment.

Dubai was locked down for several weeks as part of government efforts to curb the coronavirus, causing many businesses to temporarily shutter.

The United Arab Emirates has recorded 61,352 cases of the virus and 351 deaths. The Gulf state does not disclose where in the country the infections and deaths have occurred.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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Business Development Return On Investment During New Normal – Forbes

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In the marketing world, many businesses focus on ROI (return on investment). However, when the business does not obtain the immediate monetary results it desires, the decision makers begin to pull away from social media marketing. This is especially true with ROI during a time of crisis, such as the pandemic.

But, there is another side of the coin called return on influences, says social media marketing expert Christopher Tompkins.

“Many businesses have begun investing more time and money into individuals or organizations who can represent their brand and bring credibility and value,” says Tompkins, founder, head strategist, and CEO of The Go! Agency. His latest book is The Go Method: 22 Simple Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy That Works!

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If you’re spending money trying to promote a product or service, Tomkins says it is essential to be fully aware of your return on investment and return on influence. There are a few things to consider first:

Know how to budget correctly. “So many people think that spending thousands of dollars on advertising will result in a huge win for their company,” says Tomkins. “Yes, more money can result in a greater ROI, but, what if you don’t have thousands to spend in order to acquire new customers? You need to be smart and strategic with what you do have. You’ll want to know as much about your target audience as possible. Don’t waste your money showing your ad to everyone in the world, when you could be showing your ad to just your target audience.”

Know your KPIs and marketing goals. “Speaking of being strategic, you must know your KPIs (key performance indicators),” says Tomkins. “These are specific S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) that you can keep track of as your campaign progresses. Without these, you’re making business decisions that are based on feelings instead of figures. If you aren’t careful, you could be spending money on marketing efforts that end up in little to no results.” 

Know how to track your ROI using analytics. “If you don’t already have traffic tracker set up on your website, what are you waiting for?” asks Tomkins. “This is one of the easiest ways to see your website traffic, where they came from, and what pages on your website had a greater increase in visitors than others. Most social media sites offer their own specialized pixel so you can maximize your advertising spend with them, enabling you to only pay for when someone clicks through to your site.”

Know your measurements…and what they mean. “When you are measuring your level of influence, there is not a fancy equation that will help you deliver the ideal metric,” says Tomkins. “Each business has its own needs and its own unique focus. Is it important for you to have a high number of people connected to your profiles? Then the size of your audience will be something that you will want to measure and keep track of. Are you looking to get your audience engaged with your content actively? Then you want to track likes, comments, reactions, and shares. Want to use social media links as calls to action to visit your website? Then you need to track the amount of traffic that you are generating via each site.”

My advice: social media augments marketing and branding efforts, it is not the whole effort. Each social media channel can serve as a branding and expertise hub where a business can illustrate to its target-rich audience the value that the brand brings to the table and why the decision makers need to be interested. Remember, nothing invested means nothing gained.

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NEI's Responsible Investment Program Earns Highest Marks Possible from the Principles for Responsible Investment – Canada NewsWire

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TORONTO, Aug. 4, 2020 /CNW/ – NEI Investments (“NEI”) is proud to announce it has been awarded the top score of “A+” across all assessed categories in the 2020 report by the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (the “PRI”), the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment. While NEI has consistently received strong marks for its responsible investment program, these are the highest grades the company has achieved.

“These outstanding results reflect the deep commitment across our entire organization to ESG best practices and to the broader principles of responsible investing,” said Frederick M. Pinto, Senior Vice President and Head of Asset Management for NEI. “For more than 30 years, we have been leaders in delivering the most comprehensive and effective responsible investment program in Canada, enabling our clients to build toward their financial goals while making a positive impact on the world. The PRI assessment shows we are succeeding.”

The PRI works to understand the investment implications of environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors and to support an international network of over 3,000 signatories in integrating these factors into investment and ownership decisions. NEI Investments was among the first signatories when the PRI launched in 2006.”

“The guiding principles that were adopted by the PRI were fully embedded in our work long before we became a signatory,” said David Rutherford, Vice President of ESG Services for NEI. “For us, this goes beyond a single year’s assessment—these results speak to the power of a thoughtful and consistently applied approach that’s built on a strong foundation and refined over time.”

“From strategy and governance to corporate engagement and manager oversight, we’re thrilled the PRI has recognized the high level of asset management expertise we bring to our responsible investment solutions,” said John Bai, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer for NEI. “Our success is the result of deep integration internally and healthy, collaborative relationships with our external sub-advisors.”

View NEI’s full ratings assessment

About NEI Investments

“NEI Investments” and “NEI” refer to Northwest & Ethical Investments L.P., an Ontario limited partnership.

NEI Investments is a Canadian asset manager committed to providing focused investment solutions advised by best-of-breed, independent portfolio managers. NEI delivers disciplined, active asset management with a longstanding focus on environmental, social and governance factors, and a well-defined corporate engagement process designed to create sustainable long-term value. NEI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aviso Wealth, a national, integrated financial services company, with over $70 billion in assets. For more information please visit www.neiinvestments.com and www.aviso.ca

SOURCE NEI Investments

For further information: For media inquiries, please contact: James Morris, VP, Content Marketing and Communications, Aviso Wealth, [email protected]

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http://www.neiinvestments.com/Pages/home.aspx

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