New York - London - Athens - Oslo
Closed-End Fund News
Morningstar Commentaries
Avoid These Incredibly Overvalued Closed-End Funds
Apr. 18, 2014 - Morningstar, Inc. -  Many closed-end fund investors are quite well-informed. They understand the intricacies of relatively complex investment vehicles, diligently read the footnotes of their funds' annual and semiannual reports, and are disciplined enough to know when to buy and sell their holdings. However, it appears some investors less familiar with CEFs are willing to venture far outside their circle of competence for the sake of picking up some extra income. As a result, some CEFs that pay high distributions are occasionally driven up to exorbitant premiums. Experienced CEF investors generally steer clear of these funds, but this may not be as obvious a move for CEF newbies. 
CEF Update: TIAA-CREF Acquires Nuveen Investments
Apr. 15, 2014 - Morningstar, Inc. -  Acquisition
The biggest news of the past week was the announcement that TIAA-CREF would acquire Nuveen Investments for total consideration of $6.25 billion, including $4.6 billion in outstanding debt. Nuveen is one of the world's largest closed-end fund managers, with $57 billion in total CEF assets under management, including leverage. TIAA-CREF has no immediate changes planned for Nuveen or its CEF platform, but we will watch closely for any updates.
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
Seeking Equilibrium
Apr. 17, 2014 - Calamos Investments -  
Volatility returned with a vengeance as we entered the second quarter, fueled by dueling concerns that the economy was growing either too fast or too slow and by the perception that valuations in some sectors had become stretched. The sell-off that began in March with momentum-oriented names extended across a broader swath of the global market, with defensive names holding up best. We then saw a shift back to momentum when Federal Reserve meeting minutes were released on April 9, followed by another sell-off and then another rally.
Closed-End Funds Monthly: March 2014
Apr. 10, 2014 - Wells Fargo Advisors -  
Performance, Valuations, Distributions, Corporate Actions
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. 
Upcoming Event