Articles

My No. 1 Rule for Safe 8% Yields and 15% Upside in CEFs

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: March 20, 2017

Thinking of avoiding closed-end funds, now that we’ve got another Fed rate hike in the books?

It’s easy to see why, with the “smart money”—traders betting through the Fed funds futures market—expecting another hike just three months from now. In all, the market’s calling for three hikes this year, and so is Janet Yellen.

One Down, Two to Go?

But if you let that scare you away from high-yield sectors like CEFs, real estate investment trusts and preferred shares, you’ll miss out on some serious income.

In a moment, I’ll show you how to pick the CEFs with the most upside, along with the high payouts these funds are known for.

First, here’s why I’m pounding the table on them now. …
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14 Funds That Crush Vanguard and Yield up to 11.9%

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: March 17, 2017

Vanguard is killing it. They’re now the biggest money manager in the world, with a whopping $4 trillion in assets under management.

It’s a feel-good story for a lot of investors, since the low-fee index fund juggernaut has marketed itself as the humble alternative to the high-rolling Wall Streeters who have become the target of public ire since the global financial crisis.

The feel-good story is simple. Vanguard has low overhead, pays its executives relatively modestly and passes those savings on to investors. Because of lower fees, the investors win; because of economies of scale, Vanguard wins; and because of the efficient-market hypothesis, which says hot-shot analysts can’t consistently outperform the stock market in the long run, the only people who don’t win are those evil banksters. …
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It’s the Best Time to Buy These REITs Since 2009

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: March 15, 2017

There hasn’t been a better time to buy real estate investment trusts (REITs) since July 2009. That was the last time this “simple signal” flashed B-U-Y.

Investors who bought on this signal then have enjoyed 223% returns since. And those gains didn’t require any fancy stock picking – just a one-click purchase of the Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ).

The signal? VNQ itself paying 5%:

Highest REIT Yields Since the Financial Crisis

Most income hounds get it wrong. They pile into REITs when their yields are low because they are desperate for any positive income stream. That’s a bad idea because there are only two ways REITs can pay you:

  1. With today’s dividend, and
  2. With tomorrow’s (hopefully higher) payout. …
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3 MLP’s Paying 6% – With No Tax Nonsense

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: March 15, 2017

Master limited partnerships (MLPs) are among the most frustrating sources of yield out there. Yes, it’s common for MLPs to yield in the high single digits and even low double digits, and yes, they enjoy a number of tax benefits. But they also come with a ton of tax hassles, including dealing with K-1s for every one in your portfolio – unless, of course, you invest in one of the three high-yielding MLP funds I’m about to show you.

A quick refresher on the sector…

MLPs must derive a minimum of 90% of cash flows from commodities, natural resources or real estate, which is why most of the MLPs you see out there are related to energy pipelines and storage. They enjoy certain tax advantages as long as they pay most of their earnings out as distributions to shareholders, so they typically throw off extremely juicy yields. …
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This “Hidden” Bull Market Is Just Getting Started

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: March 14, 2017

Plenty of investors buy corporate bonds because they think they’re safe investments.

That makes sense. After all, you do get your principal back at maturity. But corporates still have plenty of risks—particularly now, with interest rates arcing higher.

That’s why I’m recommending another asset class that’s set to deliver even higher yields and fatter capital gains—with much less to fear from interest rates. More on that in a moment.

First, let’s unpack these ideas one by one, starting with why so many investors just can’t kick their corporate-bond habit: corporates tend to offer higher yields than stocks while giving you exposure to the same companies.

For instance, let’s say you want to add to your portfolio’s financial sleeve, and you’re considering JP Morgan Chase & Co.
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Here’s How I Invest My Own Retirement Cash

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: March 13, 2017

It’s a question I get a lot, both from members of my Contrarian Income Report service and folks who drop by our ContrarianOutlook website:

How do you invest your own nest egg?

I’ll answer it in just a moment.

I was reminded of this question again last week, when I was looking at the returns of the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG)—and thinking about how dead simple it would be to beat the fund’s return over the long haul.

All it would take is the slightest bit of research.

Big on Hype, Short on Performance

VIG is one of the best cases I’ve seen of an investment taking an inherent advantage and getting nothing out of it.

The fund tracks the NASDAQ US Dividend Achievers Select Index, which includes 184 companies that have raised their payouts annually for at least 10 years. …
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The 2 Worst Dividend Aristocrats to Buy Now

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: March 10, 2017

In a crazy bull market like this, you may feel like it’s impossible to lose.

That’s a dangerous feeling. Because there are a few loser stocks out there—although admittedly there are far more winners than losers.

Still, if you’re holding on to one of the big loser stocks right now, you can’t be blamed for feeling bad about it. How can you be losing money when the S&P 500 is up a whopping 18% from a year ago?

You might even be thinking about giving up on stocks. You might think the market is rigged and there’s no way for anyone off of Wall Street to compete.

That, too, is dangerous thinking.

Wall Street isn’t rigged. If it is, why have so many hedge funds lost billions in the last few years and underperformed index funds? …
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2 Retirement-Killing Mistakes Investors Make (and How to Avoid Them)

Michael Foster, Investment Strategist
Updated: March 9, 2017

I know I don’t have to tell you that risk management is one of the keys to successful long-term investing.

But here’s the strange thing: most responsible, risk-conscious investors underperform the market—and not by a little.

Why?

Because the reality of risk management is not the conventional wisdom frequently peddled by financial advisors. They warn that taking on too much risk will threaten your life savings, so you need to choose an extremely conservative fund and invest for the long term.

That’s close enough to the truth to sound convincing—but unfortunately it’s wrong. (I’ll show you two funds that upend the “conventional” wisdom—and deliver consistent market-beating gains—in just a moment.)

Here’s the real secret to growing wealth by investing: understand the markets, understand the
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This Popular Advice is Costing You Big Dividends

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: March 8, 2017

Dividend stocks are different animals. If you practiced “buy and hope” in your previous investing life, there are some habits you should leave behind.

Using a “stop loss” is one of them. In theory, stop losses limit downside while letting winners run higher. If a stock closes below a certain price, or drops a certain percentage, the “stop” will make you sell before things get worse. Instead of holding a stock all the way to zero, you’re forced to book gains (or at least cut losses) early.

It sounds like a no brainer. Why wouldn’t we want downside protection on all of our positions?

Many advisors and pundits agree, and argue that a stop loss should always be used. Several subscribers have written in asking me where they should place their stops. …
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Popular Preferred Share Funds Paying 4-5%: 1 to Buy, 2 to Sell

Brett Owens, Chief Investment Strategist
Updated: March 7, 2017

One question I field all the time is, “Should I own preferred stocks?” and my answer is always the same: “Yes, yes and yes.”

But after that, things get tricky.

When most investors think of investing in preferred stocks, they think about popular funds like the iShares U.S. Preferred Stock ETF (PFF) or the PowerShares Preferred Portfolio (PGX). But despite yields near 6%, these mainstream preferred stock funds are the wrong way to go. Instead, I suggest you take my lead and look at outside-the-box preferred-stock options like the three high-yield picks I have in store for you today.

But first – why preferred stocks?

Preferreds are high-yield stocks that are often referred to as “hybrids” because they’re not common stock, and they’re not debt … but they borrow features from both. …
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