Foreign Closed-ends: Three Buys, One Hold

Article Excerpt

Turmoil in financial markets and slowing economies have hurt stock markets worldwide. But when government measures to counter the credit crisis begin to take effect, and when economic growth resumes, top-quality foreign stocks should rebound. Here are four closed-end funds trading on the New York Exchange at discounts to their net asset value. Three are buys, and one is a hold. SWISS HELVETIA FUND $11.39 (New York symbol SWZ; Shares outstanding: 33.2 million; Market cap: $378.6 million; CWA Rating: Conservative) invests mainly in large-capitalization Swiss stocks. The fund’s manager is Hottinger Group, which, as Banque Hottinger, dates back to 1786. The Swiss government has moved quickly to restore confidence in its banking system. This includes taking a 9% interest in banking giant UBS AG. Renewed global growth will help the export oriented Swiss economy. The $594.4 million fund’s top holdings are Nestle SA (food & beverages), 17.0%; Roche Holdings (pharmaceuticals) at 12.2%; Novartis AG (health care and pharmaceuticals), 9.2%; Zurich Financial Services (insurance), 5.4%;…

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