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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Alpine Total Dynamic Dividend Fund and Alpine Global Dynamic Dividend Fund Declare Regular Monthly Distribution for June, July and August

The Board of Trustees of the Alpine Total Dynamic Dividend Fund (NYSE:AOD - News) and Alpine Global Dynamic Dividend Fund (NYSE:AGD - News) declared the same regular monthly distribution for June, July and August as in the past three months:

Alpine Total Dynamic Dividend Fund (AOD): $0.12 cents per share
Alpine Global Dynamic Dividend Fund (AGD): $0.11 cents per share

Since its inception, January 26, 2007, AOD has declared $5.58 in total distributions. Similarly, AGD, since its August 26, 2006 inception has declared $7.37 in total distributions.

“Notwithstanding the largest number of dividend reductions in decades, the Alpine dividend investment strategies find continuing dividend opportunities as well as growth potential,” said Steve Lieber, Alpine’s Chief Investment Officer.

The Alpine Total Dynamic Dividend Fund offers a unique and balanced approach to optimizing both dividend income and long-term growth of capital.* Alpine scans the globe looking for the best dividend opportunities for investors, employing a multi-cap, multi-sector, and multi-style investment approach. The Fund combines four research-driven investment strategies – Growth, Value, Special Dividends, and Dividend Capture Rotation – to maximize the amount of distributed dividend income and to identify companies globally with the potential for dividend increases and capital appreciation.

Disclosure I am long AOD shares

PIMCO Launches First ETF (TUZ); Files For Six More

Mutual fund behemoth PIMCO has been conspicuously absent from the ETF market. Today that changed with the launch of PIMCO 1-3 Year U.S. Treasury Index Fund (NYSE: TUZ). Combine this with reports that Vanguard is bidding to buy the iShares ETF label from parent company Barclays, and it looks like we may be entering a new era of competition in the ETF business.

First, let's take a look at TUZ. At first glance the new fund appears very similar to the iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Fund (NYSE: SHY). PIMCO is waiving fees to bring the expense ratio down to 0.09%, below the 0.15% found in SHY. Look for iShares to respond with lower fees soon. Both TUZ and SHY are aimed at income investors who want the potential for a higher yield than is available in short-term Treasury bills which mature in a year or less, while also keeping interest rate risk relatively low. See the Fact Sheet and Prospectus for more info on TUZ.

For PIMCO to make its very first ETF launch a near-clone of an existing ETF, and then to compete on expenses, is a very bold move. PIMCO also has the trading and marketing muscle to keep its funds active and liquid. The other large fund sponsors cannot ignore this development. At the same time, they will have a hard escaping the high-fee, performance-based culture that served them well for decades.

TUZ is only the beginning; PIMCO has other ETFs on the drawing board including its recent filing for six more - three TIPS and three additional Treasury ETFs. Whatever happens, it seems clear the ETF industry is due for some big changes.

Disclosure: I am long TUZ shares.

Silver Flirts with $16 Mark: Where Will It Trade from Here?

Silver, which has topped gold and platinum to become the fastest rising precious metal this year, has a chance to keep outperforming thanks to its double use as both an inflation hedge and industrial material, analysts are forecasting.

But with higher returns come greater risks. Silver has proved much more volatile than gold, partly because fewer people trade the white metal than gold.

If "prices of precious metals turn higher across the board, silver will tend to move up faster," said Neil Meader, research director at London-based precious metals consultancy GFMS.

"If all the prices come off, you will see silver prices collapse much faster," he said.

The London fixing, a global benchmark for silver's spot trading, has rallied nearly 50% this year to near $16 an ounce, the highest level in 10 months, as investors piled into coins, bars, and silver exchange-traded funds such as iShare Silver Trust. Holdings in SLV ishares Silver ETF, hit a record high this week.

The year-to-date gain in silver easily outpaced gold's 12% advance and has also outrun platinum's 30% increase.

Monday's metals trading on the COMEX featured anomalous action in gold and silver. Last week, silver, as reported in "Silver Breaks Out, Aims for $17," punched through resistance with a lot more vigor than gold. The metals followed through yesterday with disparate results. The active July silver contract finished more than 12 cents higher at $15.735. Nearby June gold, however, gave up 20 cents to settle at $978.60.

Disclosure I am long both SLV and GLD shares

Time to Buy Water ETFs?

Water scarcity is rising up the agenda as a major social and economic issue affecting the worlds' poor. Risks to grain harvests are rising due to the fact that 2.8-billion people live in areas of high water stress. The opportunity for greater water efficiencies is enormous in the developed world too and so is the investment opportunity.

The potential for efficiency gains in water transmission and use are enormous given that about half of water used for irrigation is lost to evaporation and waste, according to a report by the World Economic Water Initiative.

The reality is that water usage is rising all over the world. Changing diet patterns toward meat consumption doubles the need for water for production relative to a vegetarian diet. In the developed world, energy production accounts for nearly 40% of all water withdrawals and that need will grow by 50% by 2025 according to the World Economic Forum.

I have added CGW Claymore water ETF.

Claymore S&P Global Water Index ETF (the Fund) seeks investment results that correspond generally to the performance of an equity index called the S&P Global Water Index (the Index). The Index consists of approximately 50 stocks selected based on the relative importance of the global water industry within the company's business model from a universe of companies listed on global developed market exchanges. The Index is designed to have a balanced representation from different segments of the water industry consisting of two clusters: 25 water utilities and infrastructure companies and 25 water equipment and materials companies based upon Standard & Poor's Capital IQ (CIQ) industry classification. The Fund’s index provider is Standard & Poor's. The Fund will normally invest at least 90% of its total assets in common stock and American depositary receipts (ADRs) that comprise the Index. The Fund’s investment advisor is Claymore Advisors, LLC.

Disclosure I am long CGW shares

Monday, June 1, 2009

General Motors, Citigroup to be cut from the Dow

The closely watched Dow Jones industrial average reshuffled the deck on Monday, removing both General Motors Corp (GM) and Citigroup Inc (C) in a widely anticipated move.

Technology bellwether Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO) will replace GM, which filed for bankruptcy on Monday morning. Travelers Co (TRV), a large home, auto and commercial insurer, will take the place of Citigroup, which has taken billions of dollars from the U.S. government to stay afloat.

Dow Jones & Co said the changes will be effective as of the opening of trading on June 8.

Disclosure NONE