Awesome Returns


Awesome Returns

Our income picks surpass expectations.

We don't expect home runs from the stocks we recommend in our yearly yieldfest (see Where to Find the Best Yields, published in the August 2006 issue). We're content if you just collect the fat payouts and reap a bit of price appreciation. So it's gratifying -- and, to be truthful, a bit surprising -- to report on the marvelous performance of last year's batch.

Start with tanker stocks. Genco Shipping and Trading returned 152% over the past year to June 11, according to Morningstar, while three other fleets -- Seaspan, Double Hull Tankers and Arlington Tankers -- made 53%, 32% and 36% (Standard & Poor's 500-stock index returned 21%). Until world trade slows, shippers should continue to grow and boost their dividends. The stocks' current yields are all down to about 8%, but you should continue to hold.

Business-development firms American Capital Strategies, MCG Capital and Allied Capital added 46%, 21% and 15%, respectively, on strong performance by their portfolio holdings. Among traditional stocks, Verizon returned 49%, Bristol-Myers 23% and U.S. Bancorp 13%. First Industrial Realty, a real estate trust that owns warehouses and factories, returned 20%.

The recommended energy-royalty trusts disappointed, roughly breaking even. Falling natural-gas prices and new Canadian tax rules hurt. But the trusts have been strong the past three months, and if energy prices stay high, they should produce good returns. Hang on to them.