The two biggest risks that bond investors face are rising inflation and rising interest rates. This dual threat has been moderated for many years now as global central banks set accommodative policies to boost asset prices. The ultimate result of which has been tame inflationary metrics, steady jobs growth, corporate earnings expansion, and firm declines in Treasury yields.
The more recent roundabout (or tightening) of Federal Reserve fiscal policy has created a unique environment for bond investors to evaluate. Namely a flattening yield curve, whereby the 2-year U.S. Treasury Yield is sharply rising compared to its 10-year and 30-year counterparts.
The concept of rising interest rates is one that investors have been worried about for many years. While we have yet to experience an extended period of rising Treasury bond yields in the last several decades, that hasn’t tampered fears of how such an event would unfold and to what magnitude.
Interest rates, like stocks or commodities, go through cycles of rising and falling trends that can have a pronounced impact on your portfolio returns. Fixed-income assets experience the highest level of inverse correlation with interest rates. However, there is also an undeniable impact on certain stock market sectors as well.
I’ve always been a big fan of actively managed bond funds as a way for investors to access risk managed or alpha-generating strategies. Unlike active stock pickers, the best managers from the likes of PIMCO, DoubleLine, Guggenheim, and Loomis Sayles have proven track records of adding value for their investors versus a passive benchmark. Fixed-income is still one of those asset classes where sector positioning, duration targeting, and credit selection can make a huge impact on net returns.
Look back through my blog and you will see numerous references to some of my favorite funds like the DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund (DBLTX) or the PIMCO Income Fund (PONDX). We have owned both for our clients and in our own accounts for years. Read more
In this month’s video, I look at the technical trends developing in stocks and bonds. Chart review includes analysis of large-cap, small cap, international, Treasury bonds, and gold prices. Observations of risk and reward are noted throughout with an emphasis on moving averages as a source of support or resistance. Recorded on April 11, 2017.
Forecasting the direction of the markets on a quarter by quarter basis is no easy feat. There are simply too many unknowns to determine exactly what will happen and how investors will react to future events on both a micro and macro level. Nevertheless, a look back at recent price action and examining seasonal trends can be helpful to frame expectations. It may also elevate the need for closer examination of your existing holdings and offer consideration for changes to reduce risk or capitalize on fresh opportunities. Read more