Displaying items by tag: bonds
After struggling under deficits for two decades, pension funds are now flooded with cash due to soaring interest rates. The surplus at corporate defined-benefit plans means managers can now reallocate to bonds, which are less volatile than stocks. This is called “derisking” in the industry. Mike Schumacher, head of macro strategy at Wells Fargo, said the following in an interview, “The pensions are in good shape. They can now essentially immunize — take out the equities, move into bonds, and try to have assets match liabilities.” That explains some of the rallying of the bond market over the last three or four weeks.” Last year’s stock and bond market losses actually helped some benefit plans, whose future costs are a function of interest rates. When rates rise, their liabilities shrink and their funded status improves. For instance, the largest 100 US corporate pension plans now have an average funding ratio of about 110%. According to the Milliman 100 Pension Funding index, that’s the highest level in more than two decades and great news for fund managers who had to deal with low-interest rates and were forced to chase returns in the equity market. Now managers can unwind that imbalance with most banks expecting them to use the extra cash on buying bonds and selling stocks to buy more bonds.
Finsum: Due to stock and bond losses and rising rates, pension fund managers now have a surplus of funds that they plan on allocating to bonds.
Last week, over $10.2 billion went into U.S.-listed ETFs, with the majority going into fixed-income funds. Bond ETFs pulled in $4.5 billion according to ETF.com data. This followed the previous week’s $7.8 billion in inflows that went into bond funds. In the first week in January, fixed-income products pulled in $9.4 billion, a jump from $1.5 billion in the last week of December. Investors are flocking to fixed-income exchange-traded funds as recession warnings ring louder. Investors are jumping from stocks to bonds as they are often seen as a safer investment during economic downturns. Earlier in the month, Bloomberg News reported that Wall Street firms are sounding the alarm for a recession in 2023. BlackRock’s Investment Institute stated that “a recession is foretold,” while Barclays is predicting “one of the weakest years for the world economy in 40 years.” This also comes after multiple Fed officials have predicted interest rates remain elevated for the foreseeable future. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President Mary Daly said in a streamed interview with the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago that “I think something above 5[.0%] is absolutely, in my judgment, going to be likely.” Her comments come a week after Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari stated that the “central bank’s so-called terminal rate could reach as high as 5.4% before easing,” in a post on Medium.
Finsum:As Wall Street firms sound the alarm on a potential recession, investors are flocking to fixed-income ETFs, which are seen as safer investments during economic downturns.
While bonds are generally known for their stability, 2022 marked a deviance from the norm. The question for advisors is, how should they approach 2023? Mariam Kamshad, head of portfolio strategy for Goldman Sachs personal financial management, and Guido Petrelli, CEO, and founder of Merlin Investor spoke to SmartAsset to provide some guidance. First advisors should expect a return to the norm. Kamshad said 2022 was an unusually bad environment for bonds with the Federal Reserve raising rates to a 15-year high. She believes that's unlikely to repeat and expects both yields and capital gains returns to stabilize. Second, advisors should pay attention to inflation and government bonds. Kamshad believes that inflation is still the biggest issue in the economy and expects it to continue slowing in 2023, which would likely slow interest rates. Her team considers duration risk a better bet than credit risk. Kamshad's team also recommends investors consider government bonds. The team expects intermediate Treasurys to outperform cash. They also expect municipal bonds to pick back up. Petrelli recommends following the unemployment rate and the quit rate as they are “good metrics for the strength of the economy overall and a window into where bonds are headed.” He believes a potential recession is one of the biggest questions facing the bond market. In a recession, Petrelli expects investors to favor short-term bonds.
Finsum:According to two portfolio analysts, advisors should expect a return to the norm for bonds, but they should also keep an eye on inflation, government bonds, and the jobs report.
Last year, portfolios that were allocated to 60% stocks and 40% bonds were hammered, as both the stock and bond markets sustained heavy losses. The portfolio has generally yielded steady gains with lower volatility since the two asset classes typically move in opposite directions. However, the strategy backfired last year after the Fed’s tightening policy sent stocks tumbling from record highs and drove Treasuries to the worst losses since the early ‘70s. This made advisors and investors question the viability of the 60/40 model. But the bond market’s selloff last year pushed yields so high that analysts at BlackRock, AQR Capital Management, and DoubleLine expect fixed-income securities to breathe new life into 60/40 portfolios. This year, both stocks and bonds have gained, propelling the 60/40 portfolio to the best start to a year since 1987. Their view is supported by the expectations that the Fed is nearing the end of its tightening policy as inflation comes down. If this view turns out to be correct, it reduces the risk of bond prices falling again and allows them to once again serve as a hedge against a potential drop in equities stemming from a recession. In a note to clients, Doug Longo, head of fixed-income strategists at Dimensional Fund Advisors, wrote “Expected returns in fixed income are the highest we’ve seen in years.”
Finsum:Based on the view that the Fed is nearing the end of its tightening cycle, analysts expect fixed-income securities to once again serve as a hedge against stocks in the 60/40 portfolio.
Principal Asset Management recently announced that it is enhancing its fintech-enabled model portfolios by incorporating individual bonds as an option for the portfolios. The company collaborated with YieldX and Smartleaf Asset Management to offer the only full portfolio direct indexing solution, enabling advisors to expand the capabilities of direct indexing beyond equities to individual bonds. Principal launched fintech-enabled model portfolios last year in collaboration with Smartleaf to make it easy to construct and manage custom portfolios. As part of the announcement, Jill Brown, Principal's managing director of U.S. Wealth Platform, stated, “We are the first asset manager to work with YieldX to incorporate individual bonds into model portfolios, making the combinations of mutual funds, ETFs, individual equities, and now individual bonds available through our 37 model portfolios even more powerful.” Adam Green, CEO of YieldX added “Through the addition of capabilities from YieldX, advisors will now have the option to include individual fixed-income securities.”
Finsum:Principal collaborated with YieldX and Smartleaf to offer individual bonds as part of its direct indexing model portfolios.