Seeking Alpha

John Dowdee

 
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  • A Diversified, High-Income Bond Portfolio For 2015
    Sat, Jan. 24 BLW, CHI, EHI 49 Comments

    Summary

    • A portfolio of selected bond CEFs provides an average distribution of 8.6%.
    • Since 2007, the composite portfolio of selected bond CEFs outperformed HYG, the popular high-yielding bond ETF.
    • Bond CEFs offer excellent diversification when included in a traditional high-yield bond portfolio.
  • Assessing Risk Versus Reward For High Yield BDCs
    Sun, Jan. 18 AINV, ARCC, FSC 39 Comments

    Summary

    • BDCs typically provide yields in excess of 9%.
    • BDCs are substantially more volatile than the S&P 500.
    • Over the bear-bull cycle, some BDCs outperformed the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis.
    • Over the past 3 years, BDCs generally under-performed the S&P 500.
  • An ETF Portfolio Yielding 9%
    Sun, Jan. 11 AMLP, BDC, BDCS 26 Comments

    Summary

    • The ETF Portfolio yielded 9% with a relatively low volatility.
    • Over the past 3 years, the ETF Portfolio outperformed high yield bonds on a risk-adjusted basis.
    • Over the past 3 years, the ETF Portfolio under-performed the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis.
  • A Diversified, High-Income, Lower-Risk CEF Portfolio For 2015
    Editors' Pick • Thu, Jan. 1 ETW, HQH, INB 104 Comments

    Summary

    • For the bear-bull cycle beginning in 2007, the CEF Portfolio generated a higher return than the S&P 500 with substantially less risk.
    • For all-time frames analyzed since 2007, the CEF Portfolio outperformed the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis.
    • The CEF Portfolio has a high average distribution of 7.9%.
  • Is It Time To Buy Floating Rate Loans CEFs?
    Editors' Pick • Dec. 21, 2014 EFR, JFR, JQC 35 Comments

    Summary

    • Floating rate loans CEFs are typically viewed as a hedge against rising interest rates.
    • Floating rate loans CEFs are selling at discounts substantially larger than their 3 year average discount.
    • Floating rate loans CEFs provide excellent income with distribution between 6% and 7%.
    • Floating rate loans CEFs are a good way to diversify a fixed income portfolio.
    • Floating rate loans CEFs have been more volatile than high yield bond ETFs but do not always provide higher returns to compensate for the increased risks.
  • Assessing Rewards And Risks Of Mortgage REITs
    Editors' Pick • Dec. 8, 2014 AGNC, CIM, CMO 24 Comments

    Summary

    • Despite exceptional yields, mortgage REITs have underperformed equity REITs over the past 5 years.
    • Choose mortgage REITs carefully since there may be a large differences in performance.
    • Mortgage REITs offer excellent diversification for an equity focused portfolio.
    • Mortgage REITs have easily outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 12 months.
  • Spice Up Your Retirement Portfolio With REIT CEFs
    Nov. 15, 2014 JRS, NRO, RQI 33 Comments

    Summary

    • Over the past 7 years, domestic REIT CEFs have exhibited excellent risk-adjusted performance, with a few actually outperforming the S&P 500.
    • Generally, REIT CEFs are significantly more volatile than the S&P 500.
    • REIT CEFs help diversify an S&P 500 focused portfolio.
    • The Cohen and Steers REIT CEFs have outperformed most of the other REIT funds.
  • Is It Time To Buy Gold?
    Nov. 3, 2014 ASA, CEF, DBP 23 Comments

    Summary

    • Bullion funds have offered better risk-adjusted returns than mining stock funds and bullion has also been less volatile.
    • Silver has been significantly more volatile than gold in both bull and bear markets.
    • Precious metal funds have provided excellent diversification for an equity portfolio that mimics the S&P 500.
  • Is It Time To Invest In Energy CEFs?
    Oct. 18, 2014 BCF, BGR, FIF 40 Comments

    Summary

    • Energy CEFs have been hit hard over the past year, resulting in potential bargains.
    • Energy CEFs offer over 5% distributions while you wait for the sector to recover.
    • Pipeline and infrastructure CEFs have outperformed XLE, the popular energy ETF.
  • Is It Time To Buy PIMCO CEFs?
    Oct. 4, 2014 PCI, PCM, PCN 34 Comments

    Summary

    • Some PIMCO CEFs that normally sell at a premium are now selling at a discount.
    • The selloff in PIMCO CEFs has created buying opportunities in some selected funds.
    • The PIMCO CEFs managed by Bill Gross had good but not outstanding relative performance.
  • Diversify Your Portfolio With Asia-Pacific ETFs
    Sep. 28, 2014 GXC, EWJ, EWA 6 Comments

    Summary

    • The Asia-Pacific region is volatile and recent returns have not justified the risk.
    • The Asia-Pacific region offers good (but not great) diversification for a U.S. based portfolio.
    • If you believe this region will return to its glory days, this article will help you assess risk versus reward for individual country investments.
  • Use MLP CEFs To Spice Up Your Retirement Portfolio
    Sep. 22, 2014 CEM, EMO, FMO 20 Comments

    Summary

    • Many MLP CEFs are currently selling at a discount, which may represent a rare buying opportunity.
    • Two of the MLP CEFs (KED and KMF) have significantly outperformed a basket individual CEFs (represented by AMLP).
    • MLP CEFs offer excellent diversification for an equity-oriented portfolio.
  • Comparing 'Sleep Soundly' CEF And ETF Portfolios
    Sep. 12, 2014 AGG, AMLP, CWB 26 Comments

    Summary

    • The Sleep Soundly ETF Portfolio is less volatile than the CEF Portfolio, but also provides less return.
    • The Sleep Soundly ETF Portfolio outperformed the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis for all time frames analyzed since 2011.
    • On a risk-adjusted basis, the ETF and CEF Sleep Soundly Portfolios had almost identical performance.
  • A High Income 'Sleep Soundly' CEF Portfolio
    Aug. 24, 2014 CHI, ESD, ETV 70 Comments

    Summary

    • The Sleep Soundly CEF Portfolio has generated greater return with lower risk than the S&P 500 over the bear-bull cycle beginning in 2007.
    • The Sleep Soundly CEF Portfolio outperformed the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis for all time frames analyzed since 2007.
    • The Sleep Soundly Portfolio provides over 7.5% income and still allows me to sleep soundly each night.
  • Do Low Volatility ETFs Deliver 'The Goods'?
    Aug. 18, 2014 ACWV, EELV, EEMV 4 Comments

    Summary

    • On a risk-adjusted basis, low volatility ETFs held their own against their higher volatility "parents".
    • With a few exceptions, low volatility ETFs has lower absolute return than their higher volatility "parents".
    • Choosing low volatility funds across different asset classes generally increases portfolio diversification.
  • Evaluating Preferred Stock Funds For Your Retirement Portfolio
    Aug. 11, 2014 FFC, JPC, JPS 42 Comments

    Summary

    • Over the past 5 years, preferred stock funds have booked excellent risk-adjusted performance relative to stocks and bonds.
    • Over the past 5 years, preferred stock funds provided significant diversification to stock and bond portfolios.
    • Preferred stock funds have been generally less volatile than stocks and long-term bonds.
  • Comparing Dividend CEFs With ETFs: Which Are Better?
    Jul. 19, 2014 AGD, AOD, DVY 55 Comments

    Summary

    • Dividend CEFs had higher distributions than dividend ETFs but this did not translate into better overall performance.
    • Dividend CEFs provided more portfolio diversification than dividend ETFs.
    • Among dividend CEFs, AOD booked the best performance over the periods of the analysis.
  • Selecting The 'Best' ETFs For Dividends
    Jul. 3, 2014 DEM, DFE, DGS 25 Comments

    Summary

    • Dividend ETFs focused on large-cap, U.S. based stocks have had excellent performance over multiple time frames.
    • ETFs focused on dividend “aristocrats” have consistently been among the top performers.
    • Until recently, dividend ETFs with international and small-cap portfolios have lagged their peers.
  • Another High Income Covered Call CEF Portfolio
    Jun. 21, 2014 BDJ, GPM, BGY 14 Comments

    Summary

    • A new covered call CEF portfolio generated over 8% of income with risk comparable to the S&P 500.
    • Over the past 6 months, the new covered call CEF portfolio substantially outperformed the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis.
    • Over the last bear-bull cycle, the new covered call CEF portfolio kept pace with the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis.
  • Enhancing Retirement Income With A Portfolio Of Covered Call CEFs: Part I
    Jun. 15, 2014 BOE, EOI, EOS 37 Comments

    Summary

    • A portfolio of covered call CEFs generated over 7% of distribution income with risk comparable to the S&P 500.
    • Over the past 6 months, a covered call CEF portfolio substantially outperformed the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis.
    • Over the entire bear-bull cycle, a covered call CEF portfolio kept pace with the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis.
  • Spice Up Your Portfolio With Frontier Market Funds
    Jun. 9, 2014 FM, FRN, EMFM 11 Comments

    Summary

    • Frontier market funds have provide excellent risk-adjusted performance over their short history.
    • Surprisingly, frontier market funds have been less volatile than either the developed or emerging market funds.
    • Frontier market funds offered excellent diversification for developed market portfolios.
  • How I Made 7% Retirement Income Investing In CEFs
    Jun. 1, 2014 DIAX, GAB, GLQ 12 Comments

    Summary

    • A high income portfolio recommended last July has continued to book good performance.
    • The portfolio has handily beat the S&P 500 over the long term but has not kept pace over the short term.
    • The portfolio has delivered a solid 7% income with reasonable risk.
  • Caution Advised If Investing In Floating Rate Loans CEFs
    May. 21, 2014 BKLN, EFR, FCT 18 Comments

    Summary

    • Floating rate loans CEFs are typically viewed as a hedge against rising interest rates.
    • Floating rate loans CEFs have been more volatile than high yield bond ETFs.
    • The risk-adjusted performances of floating rate loans CEFs have lagged high yield bonds over the past 6 years.
  • Diversify Your Portfolio With Commodity Funds
    May. 11, 2014 DBC, DJP, GCC 9 Comments

    Summary

    • Commodity funds provide good diversification with respect to the stock market.
    • Over the past 5 years, the performances of commodity funds have significantly lagged the S&P 500.
    • The funds UCI, RJI, and USCI have performed well in comparison to peers.
  • Feed Your Portfolio With Agricultural Funds
    May. 5, 2014 CORN, MOO, DBA 8 Comments

    Summary

    • The price of food is likely to increase over the long term but in the short term, performance is highly dependent on weather.
    • Future-based agricultural funds provide excellent diversification with respect to the stock market.
    • Over the past 5 years, the performances of agricultural funds have significantly lagged the S&P 500.
  • Assessing PIMCO Closed End Funds
    Apr. 27, 2014 PCI, PCM, PCN 27 Comments

    Summary

    • PIMCO CEFs are known for their large distributions but many are also selling for high premiums.
    • The risk-adjusted performances of PIMCO CEFs are not strongly correlated to the amount of premium being paid.
    • PIMCO CEFs have a reward versus risk profile more closely aligned with the stock market than with the bond market.
    • Over the past 5 years, PIMCO CEFs have handily outperformed the stock market.
    • PIMCO CEFs have been about twice as volatile as junk bonds.
  • Constructing A High-Income, Tax-Exempt Portfolio With CEFs
    Apr. 21, 2014 MFL, MVF, BFK 33 Comments

    Summary

    • A portfolio of municipal bond CEFs is a compelling way to receive high tax-exempt income.
    • Municipal bond CEFs have provided excellent risk-adjusted returns over the long term, but faltered last year.
    • Municipal bond CEFs have outperformed similar ETFs on a risk-adjusted basis during the past 5 and 3 years periods.
  • Constructing A High Income, Lower Risk CEF Portfolio
    Apr. 13, 2014 AOD, BCF, BCX 78 Comments

    Summary

    • A high income portfolio was constructed based on the constituents of the ISE High Income Index.
    • Over the entire bear-bull cycle, the high income CEF portfolio outperformed the S&P 500 on a risk-adjusted basis.
    • Over the past 5 years, the high income CEF portfolio generated a higher return with less risk than the S&P 500.
  • Beware Of Currency ETFs
    Editors' Pick • Mar. 28, 2014 CYB, DBV, FXA 7 Comments

    Summary

    • Currency ETFs provide a simple and easy way to benefit from changes in the value of currencies without resorting to forex accounts.
    • Currency ETFs provide investors with non-correlated assets to facilitate diversifying a stock market portfolio.
    • With a few exceptions, over the past 5 years, currency ETFs have not provided rewards that were commensurate with risks.
    • The intermediate U.S Treasury Bond ETF has performed better than currency ETFs over the past 3 years.
  • Selecting The Best Emerging Market Bond Funds
    Editors' Pick • Mar. 14, 2014 EDD, EMB, EMD 21 Comments

    Summary

    • Emerging market bond funds offer diversification coupled with the potential for higher yields.
    • EMB offers the best risk-adjusted performance among the emerging market bond ETFs and CEFs.
    • Closed end funds can provide high returns for the risk-tolerant investor.
  • Spice Up Your Retirement Portfolio With Convertibles CEFs
    Mar. 2, 2014 AGC, AVK, CHI 30 Comments
  • Selecting The Best Pharma And Biotech Funds
    Feb. 17, 2014 HQH, HQL, IBB 25 Comments