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CEF Specialist

A Mixed Year in Closed-End Funds

In 2015, it was the best of times for muni CEFs and the worst of times for pretty much everything else.

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At the start of 2015, major market concerns included rising interest rates in the United States, falling oil prices, a hard landing for China, and turmoil in the Middle East. Twelve months later, many of those issues remain at the top of investors' minds. The Federal Reserve did raise interest rates in December, but the path forward remains unclear--how fast and how high will rates eventually rise? Oil prices continued to decline, dragging down the returns in many asset classes, including energy stocks, master limited partnerships, and high-yield bonds. China's stock market crashed hard in June and remains a source of anxiety as the government halted trading numerous times in 2016 thus far. Turmoil in the Middle East hasn't ceased, and the ensuing migrant crisis has called the future of the European Union and its fragile economic recovery into question.

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Cara Esser does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.