Fourth Quarter 2018 CEF Review
Fourth Quarter and 2018 Overview
The fourth quarter was a very difficult one for the closed-end fund (CEF) marketplace. The average CEF was lower by 8.74% for the three-month period ended on 12/31/18. The sell-off during the fourth quarter helped contribute to what turned out to be an overall negative one for the average CEF in 2018. The average CEF was lower by 10.73% for the year. It was a broad sell-off as, on average, both equity and fixed-income CEFs were lower for the year. Equity CEFs were down 17.94%. Taxable fixed-income funds were weaker by 6.76%, while Municipal CEFs were lower by 5.95% for the year. (Source: Morningstar. All data is share price total return.) 

As is often the case, there were many varying factors which impacted the performance of equity and fixedincome CEFs, but clearly the negative performance for most U.S. and international equity indices hurt equity CEFs. Indeed, the MSCI All-Country World Ex US Index was down 16.42% for the year while the S&P 500 Index was lower by 4.39% during 2018. Rising short- and long-term interest rates hurt municipal CEFs, while many credit-sensitive taxable fixed-income CEFs were negatively impacted by investor fears that the global economy was slowing down. The BofAML Global Corporate Index was weaker by 3.46% for the year. (Source: Bloomberg)

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Posted on Monday, January 28, 2019 @ 10:26 AM

These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.