U.S. government and corporate bond ETFs took a hit in February, as Treasury yields rose due to continuing fears over high inflation. According to a February 28 note from Lawrence Gillum, fixed income strategist for LPL Financial, “While bonds are back, 2023 may be bumpy. We don’t think we’ll see another year like 2022 anytime soon, but despite the higher starting yield levels, we could see periods of negative returns.” For instance, according to FactSet data, the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND) fell 2.7% last month, while the iShares 20+ Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) dropped 4.9% in February. When bond yields rise, prices of debt fall. However, shorter-duration Treasury bonds fared much better than longer-term U.S. debt last month as investors adjusted their rate expectations. For example, the SPDR Bloomberg 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) posted a small return of 0.3% in February. In addition, two-year Treasury yields, ended February at 4.795%, up from 0.730% at the end of 2021 as higher yields have been attracting investors after rates surged last year.
Finsum:While longer-duration bond ETFs faltered last month due to continuing fears over inflation, shorter-duration Treasury bond ETFs such as the SPDR Bloomberg 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) fared much better.