Finding a source: In the January issue of Business Valuation Update, Ray Bratcher, an analyst with Trugman Valuation Associates, writes that the company had recently lost access to its primary CEF data source. “The Factiva database (maintained by Dow Jones) previously allowed us to select, purchase and download Barron’s Market Week closed-end fund articles, published every Friday, in word processor format for ease of import into spreadsheets for analysis. We also use Morningstar’s Principia database to analyze certain quantitative factors as of the end of each month, including fund size and diversification, but this, too, will be phased out in the coming months. As with many databases, affordable ‘on-demand’ or limited-access databases are being discontinued and replaced with more expensive subscriptions, which provide a great deal more information than most valuation professionals need.”
Bratcher describes several sources of CEF data. Local libraries will have back issues of Barron’s Market Week or The Wall Street Journal for free. However, this can be a time-consuming endeavor, and these publications also have limited quantitative information related to CEFs. The Wall Street Journal provides daily CEF data (NAV, market price, and 52-week returns) online for free. However, historical data are not available, which makes its information almost useless for retrospective valuations.
A good source is Lipper Inc., a Thomson Reuters company, which provides historical CEF data with more than 65 performance and risk calculations. The Lipper database is one of the most comprehensive databases available and provides its data in spreadsheet format.
Free download. The BVU article walks through an analysis of CEFs using data from Lipper. The full article is now available as a free download from BVR. “This is not a be-all, end-all example of what to consider when deriving a DLOC from CEFs,” Bratcher writes. “But it should provide a good starting point for completing a thorough analysis.”
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