Displaying items by tag: bonds
Something has shifted in the market following the softer than expected October CPI report. At one point this year, a recession in 2024 seemed like the consensus trade, especially following the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, stresses in the banking system, and fears that high rates would choke off growth.
Now, the odds of a soft landing are rising. According to Robert Tipp, PGIM Fixed Income’s chief investment strategist, many seem to be aware of the historical context of previous soft landings. He cites 2018 and the mid-1990s as examples of rate hike cycles that didn’t result in a recession.
He believes that rising rates and tighter financial conditions are only recessionary, if economic growth is dependent on borrowing. He adds that “The excesses that would typically create a recession are simply not in existence. A lot of the expansions in the past were dependent on borrowing, but this time, it is a job growth driven organic expansion.”
In contrast to previous borrowing-driven expansions, there is much less leverage. Financial institutions remain well-capitalized, household balance sheets are in solid standing, lending standards remain high, and there are no asset bubbles in sight. Adding to this is that the economy continues to add jobs while consumer spending remains firm on a real basis.
Finsum: PGIM’s Robert Tipp believes that a soft landing outcome is likely. He points to the lack of leverage, historical instances, and firmness of the labor market and consumer spending as primary factors.
The October CPI report may have marked an inflection point for the Fed’s hiking cycle which is leading to inflows into fixed income ETFs. According to Andres Rincon, the Head of ETF Sales and Strategy at TD Securities, this is being driven by advisors, retail investors, and institutions with fixed income accounting for two-thirds of total ETF flows.
The short-end accounts for 40% of these flows as investors look to take advantage of high rates with increased demand for Treasuries, HISA ETFs, money market ETFs, and ultra short-term bond ETFs. However, the very long-end is also attracting interest to provide a hedge against a decline in rates and the overall market. Rincon also noted a surge in demand for fixed income products from TD’s direct indexing channel which had been absent during the period of zero percent rates.
Another trend that is supportive of fixed income ETF inflows is the conversion of popular mutual funds into ETF offerings. This is due to demand from institutions and advisors and advantages to the ETF structure in terms of liquidity and transparency. This is leading to more growth for the total ETF market as well.
Finsum: Andres Rincon, the Head of ETF Sales and Strategy at TD Securities, notes that fixed income ETFs are seeing significant inflows due to a variety of reasons.
Virtus Investment Partners recently launched a new actively managed fixed income ETF that primarily invests in high-quality, short-duration debt from multiple sectors. The Virtus Newfleet Short Duration Core Plus Bond ETF (SDCP) intends to provide high levels of returns and income while limiting variance in net asset value.
SDCP will also selectively invest in securities that are below investment-grade if yields are sufficiently attractive. It aims to achieve these goals through prudent risk management, a disciplined investment process, and finding opportunities in undervalued parts of the market. The fund will target securities with a duration between 1 and 3 years and will charge 35 basis points.
SDCP’s subadvisors is Newfleet Asset Management which has considerable expertise in all parts of the fixed income market including newer, more niche, and out-of-favor sectors. It believes active sector rotation and risk management are keys to portfolio construction.
Overall, SDCP’s launch is a continuation of a major theme in 2023 - the growth of fixed income ETFs. According to Todd Rosenbluth, the head of Research at VettaFI, fixed income ETFs comprise only 20% of the total market but account for 40% of inflows so far this year.
Finsum: Virtus is launching a new short-duration focused active fixed income ETF with Newfleet Asset Management as an advisor.
Over the last couple of years, there has been an increase in the number of actively managed funds that offer exposure to more niche areas such as collateralized loan obligations, asset-backed securities, commercial mortgage-backed securities, and agency mortgage-backed securities. The latest entrant in this space is the Janus Henderson Securitized Income ETF (JHG).
The ETF seeks to generate high income by providing exposure to “the most attractive opportunities on a risk-adjusted basis” across the market for securitized debt. The firm believes that investors can meet their income and duration goals in this sector with lower levels of credit risk. Many of these assets have less sensitivity to interest rates unlike many parts of the fixed income market. According to Paul Olmstead, the senior manager research analyst for fixed income at Morningstar Research Services, “This is a part of the market that does require active management and specialized expertise as there’s a complexity component.”
These funds have also outperformed amid the increase in volatility over the last couple of years. Three years ago, Janus Henderson launched the Janus Henderson AAA CLO ETF (JAAA) which currently has $4.6 billion in assets. In a validation of its premise, the fund delivered a total return of 6.9% YTD and 0.5% in 2022. To compare with a benchmark, the iShares Core US Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) has a total return of -0.8% YTD and was down 13% in 2022.
Finsum: Many active fixed income funds are being launched with a specialized focus on a particular niche. These funds have outperformed amid the volatility in the fixed income market.
Equities and bonds moved higher following the October CPI report that came in much softer than expected. As a result, traders increased their bets that the Fed hiking cycle is over, while Fed fund futures showed an increase in the number of rate cuts expected in 2024. Further, odds of a hike at the December meeting went from 21% to 0%, and the market’s consensus for the Fed’s next move is now a 50-basis point cut in July of next year.
In terms of fixed income, the 2Y Treasury note fell by 20 basis points, while yields on the long end saw similar declines. The data is also supportive that the Fed can successfully achieve a ‘soft landing’ as the economy continues to expand, while it’s managed to make significant progress in terms of battling inflationary pressures. Many market participants didn’t think it would be possible for the Fed to successfully curb inflation without throwing the economy into a recession.
Some of the key takeaways from the report were core CPI hitting a 2-year low, while headline inflation was flat on a monthly basis and up 3.2% on annual basis. Some of the biggest contributors were weakness in energy prices, shelter costs moderating, and small declines in airfare prices and vehicle costs.
Finsum: Fixed income and equities soared higher following the October CPI report which came in much softer than expected.