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High Yield from a Floating Rate Strategy

11/20/2019 5:00 am EST

Focus: BONDS

Bryan Perry

Editor, Cash Machine, Premium Income, Quick Income Trader, Instant Income Trader

There is a seismic shift under way with how the market's rotation is awarding those sectors that are levered to an expanding economy that runs counter to the long-running trend of capital being heavily parked in bonds and bond equivalent assets, notes income expert Bryan Perry, editor of Cash Machine.

Yields across the broad range of asset classes have risen and did so right after the Fed cut short-term rates and shifted their fiscal policy stance to "neutral."

One sector that has been under pressure for quite some time has been that of floating-rate securities, those fixed income notes and loans tied to the direction of interest rates.

I have no great feel for whether interest rates are going to move up in a pronounced way anytime soon following the current pop in bond yields, but I am of the view that we may well have seen the lows for interest rates and bond yields for the current cycle.

Under this assumption, it may warrant buying into a depressed fund of assets where the current payout will rise if interest rates also climb.

This is where I believe owning a position in the BlackRock Floating Rate Income Strategies Fund (FRA) makes sense to me at a time when the fund is trading at a 12.00% discount to Net Asset Value (NAV) and pays out a current yield of 7.45% on a monthly basis.

At present, there is $536 million in assets within the fund primarily invested in what are called "senior loans" that are corporate obligations.

Per the fund's fact sheet, FRA seeks a high current income and preservation of capital investing in a diversified and leveraged portfolio consisting primarily of floating rate debt securities and instruments.

At present, the fund employs 27.66% leverage to achieve the 7.45% current yield for the portfolio that owns 426 positions of which 87% is based in the United States.

Let's get long in some deeply discounted interest-rate sensitive assets. The managers at the fund raised the monthly payout in October to $0.0788 per share and the income stream bears no return of capital. Plus, 100% of the dividend payout is earned interest.

Depending on the rate of inflation and growth expectations for the economy, shares of FRA that currently trade at $12.70 could make their way back up to $15-$16 in an up-rate environment. A move to $15 over the next year coupled with a 7.45% yield, would provide a total return of 25.5%.

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