When rates hover around zero, investors often find themselves looking towards more “exotic” asset classes to gain yield. Everything from convertible bonds to emerging market debt becomes commonplace in portfolios. One of the more popular choices is master limited partnerships or MLPs. The corporate tax structure allows for investors and the sponsoring companies to reap some pretty nice benefits, including big dividend distributions [for more MLP news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The MLP ETF space can add one more to its list, as the 12th fund made its debut on Friday. The iPath S&P MLP ETN (IMLP) hit the market and looks to compete with some of the biggest names in the space. The MLP sector has been one of the most talked about in recent years as paltry yields around the fixed income sector have led to investors finding their dividends in different places [for more MLP news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
When you send your money out into the world, you want to be reasonably assured it can come home whenever it wants, hopefully grown up and enriched by the world. However, finding a steady return on investment in today’s financial markets is no easy task. As the fiscal cliff approaches, China is poised for a hard landing, Ben Bernanke hints at QE3, and Greece gets the boot from the Euro, credit is tightening and it”s easy to feel hesitant about sending your money off into volatility.
Income investors groaned at the news of the Fed’s recent decision to hold rates in their near-zero rate rut until late 2014. That could mean nearly three years until we see an uptick in interest rates which points to three years of scrapping for steady income around markets as interest rates of 0.25% are less than enticing for most investors. But for those who live and die by dividend yields, there are still a number of options available, especially in the commodity space. Investing on the equity side of commodities can offer low correlation (though not nearly as low as the direct commodity itself) while providing a handsome income stream [see also 12 High-Yielding Commodities For 2012].
Natural gas investing is an incredibly popular and active sector of the commodity world, as its high volatility as well as robust growth predictions make it a candidate for all kinds of investors. As a trading tool, natural gas tends to exhibit violent daily swings with high and liquid volumes. While this can lead to significant losses, for those who play their cards right, trading natural gas can make for a nice short term reward. For the more traditional “buy and hold” investor, there are still a number of options that may not directly invest in the commodity, but offer significant exposure under a safer structure [see also 25 Ways To Invest In Silver].
Trading commodities has been popular for many years, as investors can use a number of different resources to gain access to their favorite commodity investments. But it was only a more recent development that commodities earned their keep in a long-term portfolio. Now, a small, but important, allocation to commodities is a necessity of any well diversified portfolio, as these investments offer a number of advantages such as hedging against inflation and maintaining low correlation levels to traditional asset classes [see also Commodity Investing: Physical vs. Futures].