Convertibles come in a couple of flavors: the cool, four-wheeled kind that cruise the open road, and the stock-and-bond type. It's the latter we're concerned with here, and while they're perhaps not as fashionable as the Mercedes Benz SLK 320, they're potentially more rewarding.
"In their most basic form, convertible securities are either bonds or preferred stock that may be converted into the underlying common stock at any time," explains Ed Perks, portfolio manager of the Franklin Convertible Securities Fund. Although most don't get converted, over the long term, convertibles have delivered returns approaching those of the S&P 500 but with lower risk-two quite appealing words to investors at the moment.
But not all convertible funds are alike. Some have portfolios made up of convertibles that perform more like stocks; others, more like bonds. In Perks' portfolio you'll find balanced convertibles-those offering both income and equity opportunities. So if the market has left you a little skittish on stocks, take a peek at convertibles. You might like the ride.
Franklin Convertible Securities Fund (FISCX)
Performance: 9.09% 3-year average annual return, 12.13% 5-year average annual return
Web site: www.franklintempleton.com
Author and syndicated columnist Dian Vujovich publishes fund investing site www.fundfreebies.com.