Triple Play with Cohen & Steers

03/31/2014 9:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Robert Carlson

Editor, Retirement Watch

"We insist on being diversified and maintaining our margin of safety; we're not immune from market declines, but we fare better than most because our discipline and process," explains Bob Carlson, editor of Retirement Watch.

We are recommending a position in Cohen & Steers Realty Shares (US:CSRSX). This no-load fund invests in real estate investment trusts. It's focused on equity REITs, not the highly-leveraged, high-yielding mortgage REITs that are damaged badly by interest rate increases.

REITs had a tough time in 2013 as investors over-reacted to the Fed’s plans to reduce bond buying. But we’re in a good economic environment for equity REITs.

Economic growth and low interest rates allow existing REITs to rent their real estate and purchase new properties or other companies.

Slow growth and uncertainty about Fed policy prevents the overbuilding that’s haunted the industry at times in the past.

I like this Cohen & Steers fund because the firm is the oldest to specialize in REITs. It also has a margin of safety, and a value-oriented philosophy. It steers away from the low quality or highly-valued sectors of the market. The yield is about 2.33%.

Cohen & Steers Real Estate & Preferred Securities (RNP) is a closed-end fund that uses 30% leverage. it owns both equity REITs and preferred securities. The preferrers are to increase income while the REITs provide both capital gains potential and income.

The yield is 7.35%. The discount to net asset value is 12.82%, which is down from the peak of almost 14% but higher than the three-year average of 7.68%.

We also recommend Cohen & Steers Preferred Securities & Income (US:CPXCX). This is a traditional open-ed fund that primarily buys preferred stock and related securities.

These hybrids of stocks and bonds pay higher yields than either corporate bonds or stocks. It’s recent yield was 5.57%, and this is without leverage.

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