Volatility can be a maddening beast. Sure, you can hope all well be relatively calm on the western front this month, and The Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan won’t break bread until next month, pointed out marctomarket.com.

Meantime, the volatility of the S&P, the VIX, hovers at three month lows while the equivalent in the Treasury market’s off drastically from an early July peak.

A cocktail of burgeoning prices and moderating economies are giving investors a run for their money, the site continued.

Some economists insist the U.S. is sitting in a recession, hearty U.S. growth in jobs and with an unemployment rate at 3.6%, cyclical lows, aside. The market, in all its adamance, figures that prior to year’s end, the target of the Fed funds – currently 2.50% -- will bounce an additional 100 bp.


Inflation and the Fed’s policy are hanging is as some of the primary drivers of market and investor sentiment Advisors and investors upon which should train their focus in the year’s second half, Wisdom Tree believes, according to finance.yahoo.com, in an article was published originally on ETFTrends.com.

Fixed income investors might feel lost in the current environment, but with yields starting to generate real income and prices ultra-low it might be the perfect buying opportunity. A new series of bond ETFs centered around treasuries was launched to capitalize on this unique time in the bond market. Slope Capital LLC and Genoa Asset Management LLC launched 10-year (UTEN.O), two-year (UTWO.O), and three-month (TBIL.O) dropped ETFs that will hold the most recent current Treasuries in the respective categories. Managers of the funds say this is well crafted precise tool for the fixed income investors that need a product like this. It gives new potential to bond investors in a precise way to tailor portfolios. There has been a flood into fixed income products as of late and funds are launching rapidly in response and will continue over the next half-decade.


Finsum: These tools can be utilized for investors wanting bond exposure, but not wanting to deal with the task of trading in the treasuries market and constantly updating

As the economy’s taken a wicked turn toward the dark side, the clamor for fixed income ETFs has parachuted, according to usnews.com.

Peng Cheng, JP Morgan strategist, explained that this includes retail investors, who hopped on the bandwagon last month, loading into credit ETFs like SPDR Bloomberg High Yield Bond ETF and the share iBoxx $ Inv Grade Corporate Bond ETF.

Earlier in the month, a new series of exchanged-traded funds launched, the US Benchmark Series. That will help ease they way for individual and institutional investors to trade the must updated individual benchmark U.S. Treasuries, which will shone a light on the maturing ETFs in the fixed income category, according to reuters.com. "This gives (investors) a tool to say, we really want to focus on how we execute our investment strategy, as opposed to how effectively we trade Treasury bonds," said F/m President Alex Morris.

 

A $4 billion investment advisor based in Washington, D.C. recently announced the launch of a new suite of US Treasury ETFs that will make it easier for investors to access the US Treasury market. F/m Investments' new US Benchmark Series will allow investors to own each “Benchmark” US Treasury in a single-security ETF. Each fund will hold the most current US Treasury security that corresponds to its stated tenor. The initial three ETFs are the US Treasury 10 Year ETF (UTEN), the US Treasury 2 Year ETF (UTWO), and the US Treasury 3 Month Bill ETF (TBIL). While Treasuries are very liquid securities, they can be hard to trade. This is especially true for investors who must roll them over frequently to maintain maturity. The new ETFs will hold each maturity's most current Treasuries. 


Finsum: A new suite of single bond ETFs will provide investors access to a maturity’s most current treasury.

For investors with assets in active bond mutual funds, there has never really been a time to implement tax-loss harvesting. Tax-loss harvesting is the process of selling securities at a loss to offset capital gains tax due on the sale of other securities. Until this year, investors had mostly experienced gains in their fixed income holdings tracing back to the 2008-2009 financial crisis. However, due to significant losses in fixed income this year, an opportunity has arisen for investors to transition their assets to ETFs through tax-loss harvesting. According to Morningstar Direct data, US fixed income funds have seen more than $205 billion in redemptions during the first half of the year. Sales in taxable bond ETFs, on the other hand, while slowing, still generated $53.8 billion in net inflows during the same period. This has set the stage for tax-loss selling out of mutual funds and into ETFs.


Finsum: Losses in active bond funds this year sets the stage for tax-loss harvesting into fixed income ETFs.

PIMCO saw the second quarter sell-off in bond funds as investors pulled nearly $30 billion in the last three months. The biggest cause for the sell-off is the rising rate hikes and inflation which may be causing yields to rise and bond prices to fall. Still, analysts say that if interest hikes begin to stabilize then the bond outflows will seize and even reverse into inflows. 

This is the largest sell-off since the start of the pandemic, and investors are concerned a recession is around the corner. PIMCOs shining light are the few funds that it has that are doing okay despite macro headwinds and could prove to be a driving force for inflows when markets stabilize.


Finsum: Bond prices are just too low right now and yields will fall with inflation easing and the fed tightening, but its a matter of it happening soon enough. 

Research from Morningstar's annual Global Fund Flows found that actively managed fixed income funds saw $422 billion in outflows during the first half of the year. That figure accounted for 74% of all outflows from active portfolios. Active funds as a whole saw $568 billion in outflows, while index funds generated $432 billion in inflows. The net difference of $136 billion in outflows was the most since June to December of 2008, during the height of the Financial Crisis. The high percentage of active fixed income outflows is partly a result of the automatic rebalancing of model portfolios and target-date funds. Since equity returns have been more negative, automatic rebalancing has been triggering more trades to equity strategies to get allocations back in line. Passive fixed income funds saw $90 billion in inflows.


Finsum: Active fixed income funds accounted for 74% of all outflows from active portfolios during the first half of the year as automatic rebalancing favored equity strategies.

According to a paper published last month by Christopher Reilly of Boston College, corporate bond ETFs listed in the US, on average, pay 48 basis points a year in hidden costs that result from custom creation baskets. Since most fixed ETFs track thousands of individual bonds, custom creation baskets allow issuers and authorized participants to create a sample of the holdings which mirror the performance of the ETF. An authorized participant is an organization, typically a bank, that manages the creation and redemption of ETF shares in the primary market. Without sampling, the authorized participants would have to source every security. However, the custom ETF creation baskets allow authorized participants more flexibility to include securities that could significantly underperform the underlying index. This customization results in hidden costs that investors of ETFs could incur.


Finsum: Corporate bond ETFs are paying an average of 48 basis points a year in hidden costs resulting from customized creation baskets.

The ETF sell-off is rampant as a response to the wild and sudden market volatility, but its time to get rid of your fixed income funds? Some experts are saying there is a breakdown in the traditional 60-40 portfolio, but outflows aren’t present yet at the rate in bond funds. This is despite funds like AGG being down over 10% YTD. One possible reason for this is that investors are more worried about macro factors than most other factors. Over a third of advisors are worried about inflation, rates, and geopolitics whereas only one in ten are as concerned with volatility. This is could cause a shifting of flows into more stable macro flavored products like bond funds.


Finsum: We’ve said it once we can say it again, bond fund holders aren’t eyeballing returns like equity ETFs they are holding for security. 

There has been a sharp uptick in the high-value bond ETF trades in the last 12-months which most investors are attributing to activity from large institutional investors. Transactions are up as much as 36% on some platforms from the previous year. This has been part of a longer more ongoing trend that has been successful for many bond funds. Since the GFC, investors have questioned the resiliency of these funds to economic downturns, but regulators and investors alike are pleased with their performance in the covid pandemic. Just as important to this is the support from the Fed and Fiscal policy to the economy. Stepping in with bond relief has helped these ETFs. Finally, the increase in investment in bond ETFs has actually led to tighter underlying spreads in bond markets themselves and reflects better liquidity.


Finsum: Many believe that over-investment in index funds could be disruptive to equity volatility over time, but it appears to be stabilizing bond spreads.

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