According to the disclosure form you receive, it's a high percentage, but it's an accounting "trick" to save on taxes. If you go through the Zweig holdings on a given day, the shares are selling typically about 15 percent below the current value of all the companies that are held. It's a little complicated to figure out, but it's adventagous to you as a shareholder regarding income tax liability. If the dividends are largely counted as return of capital, you pay no tax on that portion. My shares are held in my IRA, so the dividends aren't taxed anyway, until I start withdrawing anyway. I bought this fund about 25 years ago when it first was offered, rode it up, and down, but they have paid 10 percent, sometimes a little more, from day one. Their holdings looked really solid last time I checked it out, which has been several months ago. Usually the share price will drop by about 3 percent when the dividends are paid, but Zweig has gone up a bunch this week in spite of the dividend payment. Hope that helps!
Press Release Source: The Zweig Fund, Inc. On Monday March 21, 2011, 10:43 am EDT NEW YORK, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Zweig Fund, Inc. (NYSE:ZF - News), announced that its first quarterly dividend distribution for 2011 will be $0.094 per share, payable on April 15, 2011, to shareholders of record on April 8, 2011 (ex-date April 6, 2011).
The distribution represents a cash dividend yield of 10% on an annualized basis. Distributions may represent earnings from net investment income, capital gains, excess gains taxable as ordinary income or, if necessary, return of capital. The tax status of the Fund's distributions is determined at the end of the taxable year.
The last dividend was paid to shareholders of record as of Dec. 31 and payments issued Jan 10th. The next dividend will be figured in about 2 weeks and paid about April 10th. They area actually paying about 11 percent instead of 10 lately from what I've seen. This fund is like a "parking lot" for a small part of my IRA, beats the heck out of a .50 apr CD at the bank, as long as the share price holds up fairly well, which it has done for the past couple of years since I got back in ZF. I've been making nearly 50 percent on other stocks, many of them "blue chips" since the election of 2008, so I can't get too excited about a 10 percent return.