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World markets, CEFs and gas

By Dian Vujovich

Cow burps and methane gas. Who knew?

Cow burps and methane gas. Who knew?

A few days into August and Wall Street’s downward spiriling performance can be unsettling. But stressing over market performance is pretty much a waste of good energy for everyone; the rich, the poor, investors and savers.

That said, the beauty of looking at how investments have performed in the past is the most convincing record people have for deciding wheter to invest or not. On that note, let’s ignore the U.S. markets for a moment and look at the past performance of other countries around the planet.

Bespoke reported an average year-to-date performance, (through July 31), of plus 6.75 percent for the 74 countries it tracks. Averages can be misleading so to help clarify, the two countries with the best performance were Hungry and Denmark, both up 35 percent. The two worst market performers were in Columbia and President Obama’s home country of Kenya…both down over 13 percent.

Back in the U.S, here’s a look at the performance of closed-end funds (CEFs) during the month of July.

According to Lipper data, July was the first month of the past three in which fixed-income closed-end funds (CEFs) enjoyed plus-side returns. They gained on average 0.45 percent on a net-asset-value (NAV) basis.

Equity closed-end funds weren’t as lucky. For the third consecutive month they closed down, on average, 0.72 percent in July.

The biggest CFE winners and losers were Real Estate CEFs, up 2.92 percent, on an NAV-based returnm and Natural Resources CEFs, down 6.70 percent.

As for performance in the work place, the spread between how much a CEO is compensated for their hard work vs. the median pay of their employees is about the be revealed. Just not anytime soon.

The pay-ratio disclosure is part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. But according to the SEC, showing the world that CEO-working person ratio won’t happen until 2017.

Back to gas.

This is my favorite story of the week and pretty much has nothing to do with market performances. But it made me smile because who knew.

The gas I’m referring to isn’t the kind that comes from underground exploration but from above ground —-and out of the mouths of bovines.

Whatever you think about emissions, climate change or the part humans play in polluting our atmosphere, keep in mind this tidbit from a CNBC.com story: “Cows produce, on average, 500 liters of methane per day, with 95 percent of a cow’s methane emission released through “eructation”. That means through cow burps, not via their butts.

Word is, globally livestock account for 14.5 percent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, according the Food and Angriculture Organization of the United Nations. And 44 percent of those emissions are in the form of methane.

DMS, a Dutch life sciences company, is trying to create a product that cuts the gas emissions. I’ll keep you posted on how that comes out.

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