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Sold most of my dividend-paying stocks, acquired earlier this year, for dividend ETF

I think there are various components and layers within one's investment portfolio. There can be a place for XOM, there can be a place for MSFT, for both, or for none. It doesn't have to be either-or and it's not the case with me. HDV happens to be one component (the one I can count on generating steady income). There are several other components that belong to the "growth" part (the one I can count on selling at opportune moments). Also, I don't know how to think about comparing MSFT with XOM based on last 5 years of performance. To me, these are 2 different stocks and it's more like an apple-vs-orange comparison. For my purpose, I need diversification. So both of them seem relevant to me.

I did some pref comparison across several ETFs (and against SPY), over several years. I usually use this step as a filter (to weed out the ones with questionable track-record), not as a tie-breaker. The methodology and constituents of each candidate is the main contributor to the final decision. That gives me a better sense of how the return was achieved, and the predictability of future returns. The selection of HDF was due to smaller number of stocks, dividend-weighting, and an acceptable entry yield. I will likely own VYM or VYMI at some point later, if I can catch it at a higher yield.

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