NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Why are investors still buying Treasuries and short-term investment grade bonds? Many have grown accustomed to the exceptional total returns.As I look out across the 2013 landscape, however, I see less opportunity for investors to score big with a capital appreciation component on taxable U.S. debt or quality (e.g., AAA, AA, etc.) corporate debt. Depending on the bond duration, 1%-4% yields represent the total gain that one should expect here. Of course, President Obama's reelection has secured the current Federal Reserve's mandate for a 0% interest rate target. High-yield corporates, preferred shares and convertibles with their 5%-7% yields should work just fine in our muddle-through economy. VNQ) is about the same as the yield for First Trust Morningstar Dividend Leader ( FDL). Yet, the latter offers much greater total return potential. On the other hand, REIT distributions have never been part of the beneficial tax rates on dividends. This implies that REIT yields may soon be on a level playing field with dividend stocks. If so, SPDR DJ International Real Estate ( RWX), currently offering 3.8%, may have the power to lure investors over for the payout. Meanwhile, new investors would bolster the price that contributes to a handsome total return.
Nevertheless, companies that own/lease forested property for sale of lumber and other wood-based products may be a means for total return seekers to capitalize on a real estate renaissance. REITs like Plum Creek Timber ( PCL) and forest product manufacturer Weyerhaeuser ( WY) can be found in the list of holdings for Guggenheim Global Timber ( CUT) as well as iShares Global Timber and Forestry ( WOOD).
3.) Singapore ETFs. Singapore Telecom provides mobile services to nearly a half billion people in the Asia Pacific region. The company has a 10% weighting in iShares MSCI Singapore ( EWS), helping to bolster the dividend yield to 3.6%. What's more, with Singapore rapidly become the center of the Asian financial universe, there are few places with as much "Street" credibility. Note: More adventurous souls might look to iShares Singapore Small Cap ( EWSS). Asia growth story? You shouldn't be. Not only is China's economy stabilizing, but Singapore boasts full employment (1.9% unemployed) as well as an enviable budget surplus that is 16.4% of GDP. Follow @ETFexpert This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.