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Closed-End Fund News
Morningstar Commentaries
CEF Update: 10 Large Distribution Changes
Apr. 08, 2014 - Morningstar, Inc. -  Leverage Refinancing
Nuveen continued to refinance the fixed-rate munifund term preferred shares (MTPs) issued by its muni funds. Last week,  Nuveen Dividend Advantage Municipal 3(NZF) and Nuveen NY AMT-Free Municipal Income (NRK) both announced that they issued institutional munifund term preferred shares (iMTPs) and variable-rate munifund term preferred shares (VMTPs) to refinance the rest of their outstanding MTPs. This will likely reduce leverage costs for both funds as long as short-term rates remain low.
Are Some Investors in for a Tax Surprise?
Apr. 04, 2014 - Morningstar, Inc. -  As investors finish their taxes for 2013, many will reflect on their decisions for the year and vow to make more tax-efficient choices in 2014. For closed-end fund investors, this is rarely straightforward. CEFs are more complicated than many other investment vehicles, and their taxable implications aren't always clear. Their distributions often contain several components such as net investment income, realized short-term capital gains, realized long-term capital gains, return of capital, and pass-through return of capital. Keeping all this straight might be difficult but is instrumental in making tax-efficient investment decisions. 
Market Commentaries
Plow Horse Gets De-Iced
Apr. 07, 2014 - First Trust -  For the last couple of months it’s been an open question whether US economic growth was slower because of brutal winter weather or if something more serious and worrisome was going on. 

We have consistently sided with the “weather theory.” The winter of 2014 was one of the coldest and snowiest in the past 30 years, at least in the population centers in the East and Midwest. It was likely enough to slow real GDP growth from the 2.6% pace of the past year to under 1% annualized growth in the first quarter.
March Employment Report 

Apr. 04, 2014 - First Trust -  Implications:  The March employment report was more Plow Horse, with some signs of underlying improvement as weather-related problems eased. The unemployment rate held at 6.7% instead of ticking back down to 6.6%, as we expected, but the details of the report were much better than the headlines. Payrolls increased 192,000 in March, or a total of 229,000 after including upward revisions for prior months.  Including revisions, private payrolls gained 239,000.  What kept the unemployment rate from falling was a 503,000 gain in the labor force, which counteracted the robust 476,000 gain in civilian employment in March– an alternative measure of jobs that includes small business start-ups.  
Recent Commentaries
Year-To-Date Performance of Municipal Closed-End Funds Shows the Importance of Balance
Mar. 31, 2014 - First Trust -  2013 was a remarkable year for domestic equities. Not only was the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index up 32.37% according to Bloomberg, but it achieved these results with very little downside volatility. Indeed, August was the only negative month for the S&P 500 in 2013. With such robust returns for equities coupled with a rise in long-term interest rates last year, it is to be expected that investors could lose sight of the importance of building balanced, diversified closed-end fund (CEF) portfolios and instead be mostly focused on equities and equity CEFs. 
S&P 500 Top-Line Growth Estimates
Mar. 18, 2014 - First Trust -  View from the Observation Deck  
  1. Today’s blog post is intended to supplement our post from 2/20/14 (“S&P 500 Earnings Beat Rate On The Mark For Q4’13”).
  2. In that post we noted that 66.5% of S&P 500 companies, on average, had beaten their quarterly earnings estimates since Q3’11.
  3. Nearly two out of every three S&P 500 companies has managed to top analysts’ quarterly forecasts, in part, by cutting costs, such as labor, and boosting productivity via the implementation of cutting-edge technology. 
CEF Industry Reports
Closed-End Funds Monthly: March 2014
Apr. 10, 2014 - Wells Fargo Advisors -  
Performance, Valuations, Distributions, Corporate Actions
Closed-End Fund Premiums and Discounts - March 2014
Apr. 09, 2014 - Wells Fargo Advisors -  Drivers and Guidance

One of the more unique aspects of closed-end funds(CEFs) relative to other packaged products such as mutual funds or unit investment trusts (UITs) is the dynamic between the market-price and the net asset value (NAV), which may lead to widening and narrowing premiums and discounts.
Featured CEF Fund Reports
As the Taper Begins, What’s Next for Asset Allocation? 

Mar. 27, 2014 - Calamos Investments -  
Over the past months, we have received many questions about the Federal Reserve’s (the Fed’s) move to taper its quantitative easing (QE) program and the potential impact of tapering on investment portfolios. As we have noted in our recent commentaries, we believe investors should not be discouraged by the taper—the Fed’s willingness to reduce its stimulus points to the sustainability of the U.S. economic recovery. We also believe an orderly taper will support more fundamentally driven markets. Finally, we are hopeful that the combination of economic recovery and moderately higher interest rates will incentivize U.S. banks to loan to U.S. small businesses, the engine of job growth and therefore, more sustainable economic recovery. 
Calamos High Yield Investment Process 

Feb. 12, 2014 - Calamos Investments -  
Credit research has been an integral part of the Calamos investment process since the late 1970s, when John P. Calamos, Sr. introduced pioneering strategies to manage risk and enhance returns through the use of convertibles. 

Since comprehensive capital structure research is the foundation of our investment expertise, we have readily extended our capabilities across asset classes. We introduced our first high yield portfolio in 1999 and also utilize high yield securities within a range of enhanced fixed income portfolios. 
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