One of the best places to find high yield investments is closed-end funds (CEFs). These investments were created to provide an investment focused on income distributions. As investors look for higher yields, CEFs can deliver the goods with some of the highest yields in the markets. In addition, the CEFs listed in this article have beaten the market over the past month. The S&P 500 Index has returned 4.06% over the past 4 weeks. These CEFs have doubled or tripled the S&P 500 return during this period. It gets even better, as these CEFs provide distribution yields greater than 12% while trading at a discount to their NAV.
The CEFs making this list are international stock funds that may use a covered call strategy on their holdings. All of these funds started 2012 on the upswing, as positive news was coming out of Europe and the U.S. markets were moving into an uptrend. The risk to these funds is dependent on what happens in Europe in 2012, as all have investments in developed Europe and other international markets that may be affected by this crisis. The high distribution rates are elevated by the use of the income and covered call strategies used by these funds. The market is signaling an upturn in the international markets based on the positive price perform of these CEFs over the past 4 weeks.
The most impressive high yield CEF is the Blackrock International Growth And Income Trust (BGY), which is a large cap international stock fund. This fund uses a covered call strategy which requires a return of capital on unrealized gains. BGY is trading at $8.32, which is a -5.5% discount to NAV. BGY has a humongous distribution rate of 16.44% based on its market price. It has a market return of 12.98% over the last 4 weeks. This is more than 3 times the S&P 500 Index return during this period. BGY has a total expense ratio of 1.10% and does not use leverage. While this fund has below performance in 2011, it is really a play on improving market returns in Europe and Asia in 2012.
The second Blackrock fund on the list is Blackrock Global Opportunities Equity Trust (BOE), an international stock fund that uses a covered call strategy as well. BOE is trading at $15.05 which is a -5.46% discount to NAV. BOE has a high distribution rate of 15.02% based on its market price. It has a market return of 9.7% over the last 4 weeks, which doubles the S&P 500 Index return during this period. BGY has a total expense ratio of 1.10% and does not use leverage. Management's current strategy is similar to the one held in place earlier in 2011. The portfolio is positioned to have modest overweights / underweights with economic sensitivities similar to that of the MSCI All Country World Index. As of period end, the Trust's largest underweights were in the industrials and materials sectors, while the largest overweights were in IT and consumer staples.
The AGIC International And Premium Strategy Fund (NAI) is an international fund sponsored by the Allianz Group. NAI is trading at $10.82 which is a -6.16% discount to NAV. NAI has a distribution rate of 14.64% based on its market price. It has a market return of 8.2% over the last 4 weeks, which again doubles the S&P 500 Index return during this period. NAI has a total expense ratio of 1.27% and does not use leverage. The future returns will depend on how the developed countries outside the U.S. perform in 2012.
The Wells Fargo Advantage Global Dividend Opportunity Fund (EOD) is focused on international stocks and other investments such as preferred stocks, convertible stocks, etc. to provide income for investors. This fund can write calls on up to 50% of its holdings but it did not use return of capital to investors in 2011. EOD is trading at $8.41, which is a -5.2% discount to NAV. EOD has a distribution rate of 13.09% based on its market price. It has a market return of 8.54% over the last 4 weeks and a total expense ratio of 1.05%. The market's bout of volatility underscores the importance of maintaining a disciplined and balanced long-term investment strategy through changing market cycles. This fund stays focused on its long-term goals to be better positioned to both navigate falling markets and participate in rising markets.
The Eaton Vance Tax Managed Global Diversified Equity Income Fund (EXG) invests in both domestic and foreign stocks, and writes call options on various indexes that managers feel are representative of the underlying holdings. EXG is trading at $9.14, which is a -11.9% discount to NAV. EXG has a distribution rate of 12.37% based on its market price. It has a market return of 7.86% over the last 4 weeks and a total expense ratio of 1.05%. The fund has 122 individual securities with almost all of its assets in stock: 40% of the holdings are domestic, the remainder are international equities-- mostly from developed European countries (35%) and a small portion in Asian countries.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.