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Investors wishing for even steeper investment vehicle returns, but with the MLP-like tax advantaged yields may want to look at energy royalty trusts such as Permian Basin Trust ( PBT). They also don't face corporate income taxes.

Permian, a relatively small entity, has been "running under the radar," says Bill Gunderson, president of Gunderson Capital Management, who tracks about 2,800 different stocks and exchange-traded funds. Permian has a forward annual dividend yield of 7.3% and comes in at a stellar 95 out of 2,815 stocks in Gunderson's stock ranking system, which is based on value, performance and safety. Over the last ten, five and three years, Permian has generated total returns of 25.7%, 18.8% and 40.3% respectively.

A cautionary note is that royalty trusts, unlike MLPs, are based not on the more steady pipeline business, but rather on energy production, which means investors would have to stomach the wild swings of energy prices and swings in production levels; cash flows and returns can be inconsistent. Trusts don't have any of their own physical operations, management or employees as they're financing vehicles operated by banks. Still, they trade like stocks.

"Trusts are required to pay out essentially all of their cash flow as distributions," says Morningstar. "Due to depreciation and depletion, distributions from most trusts are not considered income in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service."

Check out TheStreet's quote page for Permian Basin Royalty Trust for year-to-date share performance, analyst ratings, earnings estimates and much more.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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