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Are These Junk Bonds Worth Buying? (HCA, MTN, SWN)

The Westcore Flexible Income Fund was one of the top performing high yield bond mutual funds in 2011, producing a gain of 8.12%. So far in 2012, the fund is up 1.94%. We wanted to find out what this high performing fund is holding in its portfolio. Once a quarter, mutual funds must disclose their holdings to the SEC. Westcore reported its holdings on 12/31/2011. Given the fund turns over only 38% of its portfolio a year, there is a pretty good chance that these bonds are still in the fund’s top holdings:

Company Name Coupon Rate Maturity Date Yield Based On Feb 9th Market Price
HCA 7.88% 3/15/2020 5.56%
.Vail Resorts (MTN) 6.5% 5/01/2019 5.17%
Southwestern Energy (SWN) 7.5% 2/01/2018 4.08%

 

The top three holdings are in three different industries: healthcare, hotels, and energy.

The bonds have an average maturity of 7 years and pay and average yield of 4.94% (or put another way 3.52% more than US Treasury Bonds with a similar maturity).

If you don’t want to buy individual bonds, should you consider investing in Westcore Flexible Income (WTLTX)?  The two managers responsible for trading decisions have both been with the fund since 2009. During that time, the fund has turned in gains of 40%, 12%, and 8% (2009-2011). Despite the impressive gain in 2009 and 2010, the fund was not in the top 50% of high yield mutual funds based on performance.

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David Waring

David Waring was the founder of LearnBonds.com and has been a major contributor to the extensive library of investing news and information available on the site. Until the launch of Learnbonds.com in late 2011 there was no single site on the internet catering exclusively to the individual bond investor. This was true even though more individuals own stocks than bonds. Learn Bonds was launched to fill that gap.