A Closed-End Fund For Income Investors

Nov. 6.06 | About: Global X (DIV)

There is some good yield available at the John Hancock Patriot Select Dividend Trust (NYSEARCA:DIV) closed-end fund (see ETFConnect data).

The fund holds a mix of preferred and common stocks (about 60/40), mainly in the utilities sector. It trades at a whopping 15.8% discount, and has a long track record (since its inception in 1990) of generating solid total return figures, at least where the NAV is concerned. As recently as 2004 it has traded at a premium, and very rarely has it sold for this kind of discount.

The catch - and yes, i can almost hear the "where's the catch" thought going through your minds - is in the distribution. The fund has decreased its monthly dividend, which means it now yields an unimpressive 5.19% on share price. While this is not a good figure, especially for a leveraged fund, I think it respectable. It only means the managers of the fund prefer not to cheat shareholders by returning capital, which is just fine with me.

According to their website, the fund "seeks to provide a high level of current income consistent with modest growth of capital for holders." That's just about the most succinct way anyone has ever put to me, in plain words, the goal of income investing.

I would recommend DIV here either as proxy for utilities, or as a proxy for preferred stocks (which as I've discussed in earlier posts, lack ETF coverage). It's not, however, diversified enough to act as a core equity income holding.