ETFs With Double-Digit Yields: Some Good, Some Bad (MORT, EWP, PBP)
Even with the S&P 500's recent five-day losing streak, the universe of exchange-traded products with dividend yields resting in the double digits is sparsely populated. Running a simple screen for ETFs and ETNs with yields of over 9% turns up less than 15 names.
Since yield plays are often used by investors that plan to hold those securities for extended time horizons, we pulled the UBS E-TRACS 2x Long Alerian MLP Infrastructure ETN (NYSE: MLPL) from the group since holding high-fee leveraged ETFs for months or years is punitive on the cost front.
That leaves us with an even smaller pool of double-digit ETF/ETN yields to draw from. Some members of the pool are worth a look. Others have high yields for a reason and the reason isn't good, so they should be avoided.
Market Vectors Mortgage REIT Income ETF (NYSE: MORT) The Market Vectors Mortgage REIT Income ETF, which debuted in August 2011, has tumbled almost 4% in the past month due in part to some less-than-impressive housing data and the year-to-date performance is middling. That said, MORT does feature a juicy 10.4% yield with a fair expense ratio of just 0.4%, according to the Market Vectors Web site, meaning long-term investors can cozy up to this ETF without having to worry about high fees.
Annaly Capital (NYSE: NLY) and American Capital Agency (Nadsaq: AGNC) represent almost a third of MORT's weight. MORT is a direct rival to the iShares FTSE NAREIT Mortgage Plus Capped Index Fund (NYSE: REM), though the Market Vectors offering features a lower expense ratio.
iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund (NYSE: EWP) Today's jump of over 3% for the iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund is helping suppress the ETF's yield somewhat, keeping it just below 10%. The cold, harsh reality with EWP is that despite what looks like an attractive yield, this ETF is now more useful for traders than investors. EWP's yield has nearly doubled since we warned about the fund being a yield trap.
Now there are valid concerns that Spain might be the next of the PIIGS to be bailed out. EWP's chart is a disaster and the yield is a trap.
PowerShares KBW High Dividend Yield Financial Portfolio (NYSE: KBWD) As is the case with many ETFs tracking bank stocks, KBWD got off to a fine start this year, but has retreated a bit in recent days. The pullback has sent this fund's ETF over 10%, but KBWD is designed to sport an elevated yield because its index is calculated using a dividend yield methodology, according to PowerShares.
Currently home to 36 stocks, KBWD isn't heavy on bank stocks, though the ETF is home to several regional names. Rather, KBWD focuses primarily on mortgage REITs such as American Agency and Inveco Mortgage Capital (NYSE: IVR). Avoid KBWD if REITs don't jibe with your investment objectives or if the ETF violates support at $22.75.
PowerShares S&P 500 BuyWrite ETF (NYSE: PBP) PBP was yielding a hair over 10% at the start of trading today. The fund currently holds 501 stocks and writes covered calls on those positions to generate returns. The ETF reinvests dividends from the underlying stocks as well as the premiums from the call options, according to Investor's Business Daily. The options activity leaves PBP with an expense ratio of 0.75%, which is something to be aware of.
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