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BlackRock, Gabelli Funds Sell at Discounts

Even after four consecutive days of rising stocks through Wednesday, as measured by the S&P 500, there are highly rated, closed-end funds still selling at a discount to their net asset value. The theory, with no guarantees, is that buying securities at a discount reduces risk and adds to upside potential.

Topping the list of closed-end funds with at least a 50% portfolio allocation to equity securities and trading at a discount is the Gabelli Global Utility & Income Trust (GLU). The fund, with a rating of A-, trades at a discount of 10.9% to the value of its underlying holdings, which include DirecTV (DTV), Southern Co. (SO), AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ).

At a discount to net asset value of 14%, the ING Risk Managed Natural Resources Fund (IRR) comes in second with a rating of B+. The fund tries to reduce volatility by buying options to hedge some of the risk from energy and natural-resources stocks.

Now that oil prices have dropped to about $43, a level not seen since early 2005, the sideways trading has formed a new, recession-level base of support.

Many of the oil, gas and related services stocks have also been beaten down. Adding to that the discount offered with this fund makes ING Risk Managed Natural Resources an attractive vehicle to add portfolio exposure to ExxonMobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX), ConocoPhillips (COP) and Schlumberger (SLB).

The buy-rated fund selling at the greatest discount to the net asset value of its holdings is the BlackRock Strategic Dividend Achievers Trust (BDT), at 14.8% below NAV. Holdings of household names such as Clorox (CLX), Sherwin-Williams (SHW) and Harley-Davidson (HOG) may be way down but have stood the test of time.

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