Since PHK zoomed to unrealistic (as well as un-sustainable premiums) some 3 years ago , the choir on the Yahoo Message Board, as well as a few members here on Seeking Alpha, has insisted PHK is a great investment.
This has been a MYTH over the past 3 years and can clearly be shown by looking at comparable total returns of alternative funds across several different asset classes (not just within the HY arena).
Below are a few data points of total return performance - I even included JNK which is not using ANY leverage to drive the point home.
The after tax performance of ALL CEF's mentioned below is even BETTER vs. PHK's because a big part of their total return has been by capital appreciation which is subject to a MUCH LOWER tax rate than the ordinary income the PHK distributions are subject to (no capital appreciation for PHK over the past 3 years - again, it's the PREMIUM to NAV!).
To add insult to injury take a look at the total returns of TAX FREE muni bond CEF's over the same time frames.
We are talkig TAX FREE INCOME here (worth perhaps 65% to 70% more than taxable income to people at high tax brackets) - with some capital appreciation as well.
Drum roll please....:
1 YEAR :
PHK + 4.67%
JNK + 15.60 % - UN-LEVERAGED HY ETF!
FHY + 24.17% - Leveraged HY fund that pays what it earns and was at a nice discount 3 years ago.
JQC +35.16% - MUCH more conservative portfolio with hardly any duration risk vs. PHK!
ERC + 18.79% - Diversified bond fund with about HALF the volatility of PHK!
NAD +21.31% - National TAX FREE CEF, yes TAX FREEINCOME + capital appreciation.
NXK +17.51% - NY RAX FREE CEF, yes, TRIPLE TAX FREE INCOME for NY residents!
JNK +34.51% (no leverage here, remember?)
NXK +31.68% (seems like in line with PHK right? Now try and figure out what was the AFTER TAX return on both funds!)
NAD +48.83% (TAX FREE INCOME)
NXK _43.05% (TAX FREE INCOME)
Now, why would a fund that pays such a high distribution LAG so badly other CEF's from all different sectors, all the while being managed by such a hot shot manager?
Drum roll again please.......:
IT"S THE PREMIUM!!!
Disclosure: I am short PHK.