Sometimes a high yield is the result of a falling share price -- signaling problems in a company's performance. It can also signal that a dividend cut could be on its way.
That's one reason why I prefer funds when I'm looking to tap into a high yield. Because funds hold a large number of high-yield investments, they can minimize company, industry or geography-specific risks.
When it comes to high-yielding funds, one of my favorites hasn't lowered its dividend in the past eight years -- not even during the financial crisis and subsequent recession. All told, this fund has returned an average of 12% a year since it started trading in 1993.
Better yet, for you income lovers out there, this fund also pays monthly dividends.
About 20% of the fund's portfolio holdings are related to sovereign debt, while the balance is held in corporate debt and asset-backed securities.
With 850 total holdings, it might be hard to find a portfolio as diversified as AWF's. Roughly 65% of the holdings are from the United States, although the holdings hail from 51 different countries from all over the world.
When it comes to its corporate holdings, AWF seeks to avoid loading up on one sector in particular. Sectors represented by AWF's holdings include basic materials, telecommunications, media, energy, transportation, consumer retail, restaurants and financial.
These bonds aren't blue chips like those offered by domestic firms like Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) or IBM (NYSE: IBM), but many are still household names. For instance, it holds debt from the department store Neiman Marcus, the car rental company Hertz (NYSE: HTZ) and debt issued by the casino company, Caesars Entertainment (NYSE: CZR).
The fund is leveraged, but only by about 8.5% -- which is not as high as many of its peers. This serves to increase the fund's income, as it can borrow at lower rates and invest in more loans at higher rates.
When it comes to income, this fund is about as steady as they come. This stock has consistently spewed out monthly paychecks for over 18 years. It also hasn't lowered its dividend since 2004, even during the worst financial crisis since the great depression.
Right now, the fund pays a $0.10 monthly dividend. At today's share price of $15.32, this means you can own this reliable high-yielder and capture an 8% dividend yield (1.20/15.32) to boot.
Risks to Consider: Don't get me wrong, this fund isn't without risk. AWF holds both emerging market corporate bonds and sovereign debt from countries such as Argentina, Brazil, and Indonesia. Bonds from these countries can be riskier than bonds from the United States. And AWF's U.S. corporate debt does include some Companies that are not firing on all cylinders.
Action to Take -- > But, that said, if you are a more adventurous investor, AWF may be a good high-yield opportunity for you. It has a diversified portfolio and has proven to be a steady payer, even in tumultuous economic times.