There's a rule of thumb for investments made in closed end funds -- always buy at a discount, and aim for at least a 10% discount to par if you want to execute a value-type play.
This rule especially applies to the current market, where uncertainty is rife and the specter of a genuine downturn of magnitude is in the cards.
Our data for May suggest there is value in the near term, assuming no cataclysmic events within the next three to six months, for investors to take positions in the Latin American and Mexican markets. Three funds on our list fit in the discount category: the
Mexico Equity Income Fund
Latin American Equity Fund
In general, emerging markets are the ones trading at higher discounts, which is of course risk-related. But for those investors looking for a riskier asset class combined with a foreign exposure, emerging markets may be the option.
Clough Global Allocation Fund
is 70% allocated to U.S. equity, predominantly in oil and gas (which right now is not a positive), and the financial services sector (including banking) as of March. Investors should check to see if there has been any reported change in the sector and geographical allocation because current conditions dictate a rotation out of energy and an increase in allocation to overseas markets.
Further exposure to the banking and financial services sector at this stage assumes that the credit and economic problems of unemployment and inflation are somewhat contained -- which is a large assumption. The fund trades at close to a 9% discount.
Next on the list are options for the emerging Europe with the
Central Europe & Russia Fund
trading at a 7.5% discount and the
Morgan Stanley Eastern Europe
trading close to a 6% discount. Investors may want to wait and see if these funds get to our 10% discount threshold.
Sam Patel, CFA, is the manager of mutual fund research for the TheStreet.com Ratings.
In keeping with TSC's Investment Policy, employees of TheStreet.com Ratings with access to pre-publication ratings data must pre-clear any potential trade through the legal department, and are prohibited from trading any security that is the subject of an unpublished rating revision until the second business day after the rating is published.
While Patel cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he appreciates your feedback;
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