Displaying items by tag: fixed income
Long-dated Treasuries' Bad Year Likely a One-off
When stocks are down like they were last year, investors usually look towards treasuries for safety. But last year was unlike any other year. While the S&P 500 fell 18%, the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond index slumped 13%. However, a year like 2022 is unlikely to happen again any time soon. According to analysts, that leaves “room for those bonds to reclaim their role as a core risk-off allocation for asset owners this year.” For example, when SVB Financial Group recently announced hefty losses, the S&P 500 index fell 3.4% between March 8th and March 13th. But investors looking for a safe haven in long-dated Treasuries sent yields plunging, providing bondholders with a gain of more than 4%. Many analysts expect the conditions that led to close correlations between the stock and bond market “to prove ephemeral.” According to Jason Vaillancourt, global macro strategist with Putnam Investments, the biggest risk for those strong correlations is when "The Fed gets really fired up to fight inflation, as with the central bank's 'uh-oh' moment last year — when inflationary pressures it had deemed transitory proved anything but, forcing the central bank to shift aggressively to catch-up mode.” He added, “With the Fed frontloading its fight against inflation last year, the conditions required to maintain correlations at 1 this year are unlikely to persist.”
Finsum:With the Fed front-loading its fight against inflation last year, the conditions that led to a high correlation between the stock and bonds markets, aren’t likely to persist.
Vanguard Launches Short-Term Tax-Exempt Bond ETF
Vanguard recently expanded its tax-exempt bond ETF lineup with the launch of the Vanguard Short-Term Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (VTES), which is built to help investors earn consistent, tax-exempt income. The fund’s objective is to track the performance of the S&P 0-7 Year National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index using a sampling technique to closely match key benchmark characteristics. The index measures the investment-grade segment of the U.S. municipal bond market with maturities between one month and 7 years. This is Vanguard’s first US-listed ETF launch in nearly two years. The ETF, which is managed by Vanguard Fixed Income Group, has been listed on NYSE Arca with an expense ratio of 0.07%. Sara Devereux, Global Head of Vanguard Fixed Income Group had this to say about the launch, “The Vanguard Short-Term Tax-Exempt Bond ETF is built to optimize tax efficiency for investors seeking to allocate to the shorter end of the municipal bond market. The new ETF complements our broad fixed income line-up and provides clients with another avenue to tap our municipal bond team’s talent and capabilities.”
Finsum:Vanguard expanded its tax-exempt bond ETF lineup with the launch of the Vanguard Short-Term Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (VTES), its first US-listed ETF launch in nearly two years.
John Hancock: Active Fixed-Income ETFs Add Value
In a recent article for John Hancock’s Recent Viewpoints, Steve L. Deroian, Head of Asset Allocation Models and ETF Strategy offered his take on why active fixed-income ETFs provide value. Deroian noted that while active ETFs have slowly gained traction since they first appeared in 2008, there have been recent signs that investors are becoming more interested in gaining exposure to active management in ETFs. In fact, since 2008, the number of active fixed-income ETFs has grown exponentially. In John Hancock’s opinion, one factor behind the rapid growth is the changing composition of the U.S. bond market over the past ten years. Passive strategies have become much more concentrated in government debt. At the end of December, Treasuries accounted for over 40% of the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, while the duration of the index has risen and is now at more than six years, indicating passive fixed-income ETFs carry a fair amount of interest-rate risk. Active fixed-income ETFs, on the other hand, aren’t required to track the benchmark. They can instead shift duration based on the manager’s outlook for interest rates. The management team can also manage sector allocation based on its ability to find relative value opportunities. Since the range of returns between fixed-income sectors can often be large, this creates an opportunity for active managers to add value over time.
Finsum:The number of active fixed-income ETFs has grown exponentially and John Hancock’s Steve L. Deroian believes one reason for that is the concentration of government debt in passive bond ETFs that carries a fair amount of interest-rate risk.
High Yield ETF’s Influence on Bond Market Rising
According to research from data analytics company Coalition Greenwich, the influence of some corporate bond ETFs on their underlying holdings has increased, as the electronification of fixed-income trading has created an upheaval in how bonds are traded. The firm found that the trading volumes of 12 of the largest corporate bond ETFs rose from 18% of the turnover in their constituent investment grade and high-yield bonds in 2021 to 23% in 2022. In addition, the proportion was even more marked when Coalition Greenwich narrowed its focus to the five high-yield ETFs in its study. In this case, it found average daily notional volume soared from 30.5% of the underlying bonds in 2021 to 47.4%. What this means is that ETFs accounted for nearly half of the daily traded value of the underlying bonds. Kevin McPartland, head of market structure and technology research at Coalition Greenwich stated, “In the last three years everything has changed, all bond market participants now traded at least some of their volume electronically, which was transforming the market.” The increasing share of volume traded is an indication of a revolution in which corporate bonds are traded. Fixed-income ETFs have helped to increase the electronification of the corporate bond market, which has resulted in better price discovery, liquidity, and tighter spreads.
Finsum:According to research from data analytics company Coalition Greenwich,the trading volumes of some of the largest corporate bond ETFs are rising and accounting for a higher daily traded value of the underlying bonds.
Top Performing Fixed Income SMAs in 2022: Short-duration & Multisector Bond
According to Morningstar's separate account/collective investment trust database, the top-performing fixed-income managers in 2022 managed to post positive returns during a historically tough year for the asset class. Five of the top 10 managers were in Morningstar's ultrashort bond category, while three were in the multisector bond category. The remaining two included one in the non-traditional bond category, and one, which was the top overall, in Morningstar's muni national long bond category. That top-performing strategy was the 16th Amendment Advisors LLC's Vicksburg strategy, which posted a gross return of 46.03% for the year. John J. Lee, a co-founder and managing member of the firm, said in an email to Pension & Investments, that the strategy benefited from a "cautious and bearish outlook on interest rates in general. Further, it took advantage of the disarray in the marketplace due to sharply rising rates and historically volatile markets." Lee said that it “holds investment-grade municipal bonds, corporate bonds, and their hedges in a strategy that is targeted to investors looking for non-correlated high-grade fixed-income exposure.” The second-ranked strategy was T. Rowe Price's dynamic global bond strategy, which returned 4.66% for the year. The strategy falls into Morningstar's non-traditional bond category and holds U.S. and international debt securities.
Finsum:According to Morningstar's SMA/CIT database, five of the top ten performing fixed-income managers were in the ultrashort bond category, three were in the multisector bond category, while the top two overall were in the muni national long bond category and the non-traditional bond category.