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Call-Writing Funds a Shelter in a Storm

As of June 30, 37% of the fund's holdings were in the U.S., with the U.K. and Australia also having a heavy presence. My sole concern about this fund is that not too many ADRs have options listed, and even fewer ordinary shares have options in their local markets. If volatility compresses (and by extension, option premiums), I could see the holdings shifting more and more toward domestic names with options in pursuit of premium.

With too many domestic names, ING Global Equity Dividend Premium Fund loses it appeal as a play on foreign markets. The saving grace on this point is that options are being listed on more ADRs, albeit slowly. IGD yields 9.38% and trades at a 5.5% premium. While 5.5% is on the high side, it's actually low relative to the fund's own history.

One last thing to consider with these funds is the tax treatment of the payout. In 2004, 11.5% of Madison Claymore's payout was eligible for the 15% qualified rate. ING Global was listed this year, and there is no estimate yet of how much will qualify for the 15% rate.

Please note that due to factors including low market capitalization and/or insufficient public float, we consider Madison Claymore Covered Call Fund to be a small-cap stock. You should be aware that such stocks are subject to more risk than stocks of larger companies, including greater volatility, lower liquidity and less publicly available information, and that postings such as this one can have an effect on their stock prices.

P.S. from TheStreet.com Editor-in-Chief, Dave Morrow:
It's always been my opinion that it pays to have more -- not fewer -- expert market views and analyses when you're making investing or trading decisions. That's why I recommend you take advantage of our free trial offer to TheStreet.com RealMoney premium Web site, where you'll get in-depth commentary and money-making strategies from over 50 Wall Street pros, including Jim Cramer. Take my advice -- try it now.

At the time of publication, Nusbaum held MCN in personal and client accounts, although positions may change at any time.

Roger Nusbaum is a portfolio manager with Your Source Financial of Phoenix, Ariz., and the author of Random Roger's Big Picture Blog. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Nusbaum appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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