The best-rated closed-end funds for the month of April focused on equity income, foreign/international funds and municipals, both national and state.

The equity income and municipal funds show that the U.S. domestic landscape in terms of closed-end funds is governed by a search for yield in an ever-more difficult environment.

The Federal Reserve's reduction of interest rates this year led to financial asset prices in general rising. That's similar to the period in 2001-2002 when rates were slashed and asset prices, including residential property, soared. As asset prices rise, yields fall. The assets that deliver yield in the current environment include commercial real estate (REIT) funds, municipals and dividend paying equities.

Although municipals are but one part of a broad U.S. debt market, their revenue stream generated by the taxing power of government and their tax-advantage status make them attractive in the generally risk-averse current environment.

One other sector in the U.S. and globally that has performed well is energy and natural resources, driven by the relentless rise in the price of crude and gold.

Outside of the U.S., there are various regions that investors can take positions in. Closed-end funds focused on overseas markets have seen their returns assisted by more favorable economic conditions overseas, as well as a weak dollar; when foreign returns are converted back to U.S. dollars, returns are amplified further.

Fund TSC Rating Ticker 1 Month Return 3 Month Return Category/Sector
BlackRock Real Asset Equity Trust A+ BCF 2.76 8.41 Equity Income
Eaton Vance Tax Adv Glob Div Inc A+ ETG 6.86 -0.52 Global Equity
BlackRock Global Energy & Resources A+ BGR 5.96 10.42 Sector - Energy/Natural Res
Eaton Vance Tax Advantage Div Inc A EVT 6.35 0.34 Equity Income
Aberdeen Australia Equity Fund A IAF 0.3 3.47 Non-US Equity
Eaton Vance Tax Adv Global Div Opp A ETO 8.72 6.07 Global Equity
Nuveen Select Tax-Free Inc 3 A NXR 1.02 4.19 Municipal - National
BlackRock CA Municipal Income Trust A BFZ 1.02 0.92 Municipal Single State
Lazard Global Total Return&Income A LGI 5.07 1.4 Global Equity
Western Asset Managed Municipals A MMU 0.78 0.71 Municipal - National
Nuveen Muni Value A NUV 1.93 2.34 Municipal - National
BlackRock NY Muni Bond Trust A BQH 1 -3.96 Municipal Single State
Nuveen Select T-F Inc Portf 2 A NXQ 3.57 4.77 Municipal - National
BlackRock CA Muni Bond Trust A BZA -0.53 2.01 Municipal Single State
BlackRock S&P Qual Rkg Glob Eq Mgd A BQY 1.51 -0.1 Global Equity
Mexico Fund A MXF -2.3 0.67 Non-US Equity
Emerging Market Telecom Fund A- ETF 1.84 -1.94 Emerging Market Equity
Boulder Total Return Fund A- BTF 3.02 -2.83 Equity Income
BlackRock Enhanced Capital and Inc A- CII 3.5 -1.18 Growth & Income
Sam Patel, CFA, is the manager of mutual fund research for the Ratings.

In keeping with TSC's Investment Policy, employees of 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; click here to send him an email.