June 2015 Closed-End Fund Market Update

Portfolio Specialist Allen Webb talks to RiverNorth Portfolio Manager Steve O'Neill about the CEF market for the month of June.

  • Downloadable video file - Use this option if you have trouble viewing the embedded YouTube video above or if you would like to save the video to your desktop.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Video recorded 7.7.2015. Opinions and estimates offered constitute our judgment and are subject to change without notice, as are statements of financial market trends, which are based on current market conditions. We believe the information provided here is reliable, but do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. The views and strategies described may not be suitable for all investors. This information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered tax, legal, or investment advice. References to specific securities, asset classes, and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, recommendations. Opinions referenced are as of the day recorded and are subject to change due to changes in the market, economic conditions, or changes in the legal and/or regulatory environment and may not necessarily come to pass.

Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Diversification does not ensure a profit or guarantee against loss.

Investing involves risk. Principal loss is possible.

Definitions

The High Yield CEF index total return and discount statistics are based upon the Morningstar Un-weighted High Yield CEF Index, which is the average of all closed-end funds categorized by Morningstar as utilizing a high yield investment strategy. High yield closed-end funds are defined as funds that seek high current income through investing in non-investment grade debt instruments.

The Preferred CEF index total return and discount statistics are based upon the Morningstar Un-weighted Preferred CEF Index, which is the average of all closed-end funds categorized by Morningstar as utilizing a preferred investment strategy. Preferred closed-end funds are defined as funds that invest primarily in preferred and/or convertible preferred stocks.

The Municipal Bond CEF index total return and discount statistics are based upon the Morningstar Un-weighted Municipal Bond CEF Index, which is the average of all closed-end funds categorized by Morningstar as utilizing a municipal bond investment strategy. Municipal bond closed-end funds are defined as funds that invest in a diversified portfolio of investment-grade municipal bonds in a variety of sectors and States.

The Global Income CEF index total return and discount statistics are based upon the Morningstar Un-weighted Global Income CEF Index, which is the average of all closed-end funds categorized by Morningstar as utilizing a global income investment strategy. Global income closed-end funds are defined as funds that invest primarily in a mixture of U.S. and foreign government and corporate debt, with an emphasis on developed countries.

The Investment Grade CEF index total return and discount statistics are based upon the Morningstar Un-weighted Investment Grade CEF Index, which is the average of all closed-end funds categorized by Morningstar as utilizing a investment grade investment strategy. Investment grade closed-end funds are defined as funds that invest primarily in investment grade debt instruments.

The Emerging Income CEF index total return and discount statistics are based upon the Morningstar Un-weighted Emerging Income CEF Index, which is the average of all closed-end funds categorized by Morningstar as utilizing an emerging income investment strategy. Emerging income closed-end funds are defined as funds that invest primarily in emerging market government and corporate debt securities.

The Multi-Sector Bond CEF index total return and discount statistics are based upon the Morningstar Un-weighted Multi-Sector Bond CEF Index, which is the average of all closed-end funds categorized by Morningstar as utilizing a multi-sector bond investment strategy. Multi-sector bond closed-end funds are defined as funds that invest across several fixed income asset classes, with typically less than 50% in any one of these asset classes.

The Bank Loan CEF index total return and discount statistics are based upon the Morningstar Un-weighted Bank Loan CEF Index, which is the average of all closed-end funds categorized by Morningstar as utilizing a bank loan investment strategy. Bank loan closed-end funds are defined as funds that invest primarily in collateralized senior bank loans issued by corporations. Most of these securities are typically rated below investment grade.

The Convertible CEF index total return and discount statistics are based upon the Morningstar Un-weighted Convertible CEF Index, which is the average of all closed-end funds categorized by Morningstar as utilizing a convertible investment strategy. Convertible closed-end funds are defined as funds that invest primarily in Convertibles bonds / Convertible preferred stock.

The Mortgage Bond CEF index total return and discount statistics are based upon the Morningstar Un-weighted Mortgage Bond CEF Index, which is the average of all closed-end funds categorized by Morningstar as utilizing a mortgage bond investment strategy. Mortgage bond closed-end funds are defined as funds that invest primarily in a variety of mortgage-backed securities and mortgage derivatives.

The Government and Agency CEF index total return and discount statistics are based upon the Morningstar Un-weighted Government and Agency CEF Index, which is the average of all closed-end funds categorized by Morningstar as utilizing a government and agency investment strategy. Government and Agency closed-end funds are defined as funds that invest primarily in U.S. Treasuries and Agency debt.

Fed Tightening: As concerns over a brewing housing bubble mounted, the Federal Reserve began to hike rates in June 2004 and continued hiking all the way through July 2006. The Federal Reserve "made money tight" by raising short-term interest rates (also known as the Fed funds, or discount rate), which increased the cost of borrowing and effectively reduced its attractiveness.

Quant Crash: During the week of August 6, 2007, a number of high-profile and highly successful quantitative long/short equity hedge funds experienced unprecedented losses.

Lehman Collapse: Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 15, 2008. Lehman faced an unprecedented loss due to the continuing subprime mortgage crisis, having held on to large positions in subprime and other lower-rated mortgage tranches when securitizing the underlying mortgages.

S&P 667: The S&P 500 reached its financial crisis low of 667 in March 2009. The S&P 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks. The index is designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy based on the changing aggregate market value of these 500 stocks.

Flash Crash: The quick drop and recovery in securities prices that occurred shortly after 2:30pm Eastern Standard Time on May 6, 2010. Initial reports that the crash was caused by a mistyped order proved to be erroneous, and the causes of the flash crash remain unknown.

Muni Bond Fears: Municipal bonds experienced a major sell off as worried investors fled the market. The fears generated from a growing concern that states, cities, and counties faced huge budget shortfalls and were at risk of default.

US Debt Downgrade: Standard & Poor’s (a credit rating agency) removed the United States government from its list of risk-free borrowers for the first time. Global stock markets declined following the announcement.

Fed Taper Talk: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced that the central bank would begin paring back its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program should the economic data continue to improve. This caused an aggressive stock market sell off and an increase in interest rates.

High yield bond spreads are the percentage difference in current yields of various classes of high-yield bonds (often junk bonds) compared against investment-grade corporate bonds, Treasury bonds or another benchmark bond measure. Spreads are often expressed as a difference in percentage points or basis points.

The price at which a closed-end fund trades often varies from its NAV. Some funds have market prices below their net asset values - referred to as a discount. Conversely, some funds have market prices above their net asset values - referred to as a premium.

S&P 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks. The index is designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy based on the changing aggregate market value of these 500 stocks. The Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index of investment-grade fixed-rate debt issues with maturities of at least one year. This unmanaged index does not reflect fees and expenses. The S&P 500 and Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Indices are indices only and cannot be invested in directly.

A basis point is a common unit of measure for interest rates and other percentages in finance. One basis point is equal to 1/100th of 1%, or 0.01% (0.0001), and is used to denote the percentage change in a financial instrument.

Source: Morningstar, Inc.