Bull or bear, up or down, volatile or not.
No matter the market, Cramer said investors should own at least one dividend stock with a "notoriously big juicy yield". Doing so cushions one's portfolio when the market is down and also allows the investor to capitalize on the "money-making power" of compounding reinvested dividends, he said. Cramer outlined this strategy in his book Getting Back to Evenand reiterated this advice on Thursday's Mad Money.
"Big dividends are no joke," he said. "They’re not just for retirees and the super conservative, although they do make a terrific alternative to the incredibly low yields you’re getting on Treasurys right now."
Cramer pointed to Windstream , a rural telecommunications provider that sports an 8.7% dividend yield. When he first recommended this stock on June 5, 2008, it was trading at $13.39. The stock is down 13% since then, but has produced a 7% gain with dividends. The stock is up by 17%, however, since Cramer interviewed Windstream's CEO on Mad Money September 29, 2009. With dividends included, investors would have scored a 25% gain.
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On Thursday, Windstream reported a "decent" second-quarter. Revenues declined by 3%, likely due to the company's $1.2 billion acquisition of Iowa Telecommunications. Excluding the impact of the deal, Cramer said its operating income rose by 6%. Windstream seems to be transforming itself from a traditional voice carrier to a company focused on business services and broadband, he noted. In fact, 44% of its revenues came from business customers and broadband penetration is up to 41%. The company added 14,800 high-speed Internet customers and 8,000 digital television customers to bring its total subscribers up to 1.3 million, which is a 9% increase from the year prior.
Windstream's growth has come by way of consolidation, where it has rolled up smaller rural telecommunications companies, including D&E Communications, Lexcom, Valor, CT Communications and NuVox. In doing so, Cramer said it creates more cash and can then afford to pay a greater dividend. With the stock less than 50 cents from its 52-week high, Cramer invited Windstream's CEO Jeff Gardner onto Mad Money to find out if the company will continue to pay out and grow its "juicy dividend." Watch the videoto see the full interview with Gardner.
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