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S&P Buy Write Shows Its Worth

Last December I wrote about the then new PowerShares S&P 500 Buy Write Portfolio (PBP). Over the last few years there have been countless closed-end funds and one ETN in this space, but PBP has been the lone ETF and most recent addition.

The idea behind call writing funds, which include actively managed CEFs like S&P 500 Covered Call Fund (BEP) and NFJ Dividend, Interest & Premium Strategy (NFJ), the iPath CBOE S&P 500 BuyWrite Index ETN (BWV) and the indexed PBP, is smoother returns with more yield. In that December article I was generally positive, due primarily to the track record of the index, but suggested giving the fund the chance to prove it can track the index.

PBP has been tested right out of the gate. The S&P 500 has traveled a violent path toward a 7.3% decline as of Friday, and in that same time PBP has dropped 1.7%. Plus, as the chart shows, the ride for PBP has been smoother.

Click here for larger image.

Some might say that little more than five months is not enough time to know that a concept fund can deliver what it has promised, but given the way 2008 has played out so far I would say that the fund has proved itself and that 2008 has simply been another example in the longer term record of the index where the strategy has put in a compelling result.

If you buy into the track record so far then you must also expect that PBP will lag the S&P 500 the next time it is up a lot but that is by definition a smoother ride, up less on the way up and down less on the way down.

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