October 3, 2019

The Month in Closed-End Funds: September 2019

by Tom Roseen.

For the month, 64% of all CEFs posted NAV-based returns in the black, with 87% of equity CEFs and only 46% of fixed income CEFs chalking up returns in the plus column. For the first month in three, Lipper’s world equity CEFs macro-group (+1.53%) outperformed its two equity-based brethren: domestic equity CEFs (+1.51%) and mixed-asset CEFs (+1.29%). The Natural Resources CEFs classification (+2.78%) outperformed all other equity classifications, followed by Utility CEFs (+2.47%) and Energy MLP CEFs (+2.46%, August’s laggard).

For the third month in four, world income CEFs moved to the top of the leaderboard, posting a plus-side return on average (+0.93%), followed by domestic taxable bond CEFs (+0.39%) and municipal bond CEFs (-0.96%). The world income CEFs macro-group was propped up by the Global Income CEFs (+0.97%) and Emerging Markets Hard Currency Debt CEFs (+0.83%) classifications. For the first month in 11, the municipal debt CEFs macro-group posted a return in the red (-0.96%) on average, with all the classifications in the group experiencing negative returns for September.

For September, the median discount of all CEFs narrowed 42 bps to 6.42%—still narrower than the 12-month moving average median discount (8.21%). In this report, we highlight September 2019 CEF performance trends, premiums and discounts, and corporate actions and events.


  • For the third month in four, equity closed-end funds (CEFs) on average posted plus-side returns, gaining 1.47% on a net-asset-value (NAV) basis for September, while for the first month in nine, fixed income CEFs suffered negative returns (-0.18%).
  • Only 20% of all CEFs traded at a premium to their NAV, with 23% of equity CEFs and 18% of fixed income CEFs trading in premium territory. The world income CEFs macro-classification witnessed the largest narrowing of discounts for the month among Lipper’s CEF macro-groups—181 basis points (bps) to 5.26%.
  • Natural Resources CEFs (+2.78%) posted the strongest positive returns of all equity CEF classifications for the month.
  • The Global Income CEFs classification (+0.97%) posted the strongest plus-side returns in the fixed income universe for the month.
  • For the first month in 11, the municipal debt CEFs macro-group posted a negative return on average (-0.96%), with all classifications in the group witnessing returns in the red for September.

Download our Closed-End Funds FundMarket Insight Report: The Month in Closed-End Funds: September 2019 here.

Lipper delivers data on more than 265,000 collective investments in 61 countries. Find out more

Get In Touch


Related Reports

For the month, 92% of all closed-end funds (CEFs) posted net-asset-value (NAV)-based ...

  After suffering significant losses (-4.3%) and massive net outflows ($208.9 ...

For the month, 85% of all closed-end funds (CEFs) posted net asset value (NAV)-based ...

U.S. investors pushed equity funds to their strongest quarterly performance since Q4 ...

We have updated our Privacy Statement. Before you continue, please read our new Privacy Statement and familiarize yourself with the terms.×