Eq: Large Cap

Equities have rallied, inflation is falling in the month of July, and global gas prices seem to be easing; investors can shake off the volatility concerns, right? Not just yet. Volatility experts Paul Britton founder of Capstone Investment Advisors told the FT that we aren’t through the weeds just yet as the corporate debt crisis looms at the end of 2022. Britton says there is a significant repricing as companies might struggle to pay off high corporate debt with rising interest rates. Capstone looks to profit on increasing volatility as they are a considerable hedge fund, but the VIX is still falling below its long-run moving average for the first time in four months. Fed experts like Mary Daly, president of the SF Fed branch, say the inflation battle hasn’t been won yet, signaling more rate hikes may be needed to bury inflation.

Finsum: Failing to consider the fact that inflation favors borrowers, real borrowing costs on corporate debt have decreased considerably.

According to a July survey conducted by VettaFi and State Street Global Advisors, high yield credit strategies were the bond style most appealing for advisors to add to client portfolios. With treasury yields narrowing and the Federal Reserve aggressively hiking rates to tackle inflation, investors are looking to take on more credit risk to receive higher yields. This is evident as three top high yield corporate bond ETFs, that collectively manage $44 billion, pulled in $4.7 billion in flows during July. The iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG) brought $1.9 billion in new assets during July, while the SPDR Bloomberg High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) and the iShares Broad USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (USHY) brought in $1.7 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively. It appears that investors currently prefer high yield bond ETFs with higher risk profiles to funds that offer more protection against rising rates.

Finsum: Due to the Fed’s rising rates policy and narrowing yields, investors flocked to high-yield bond ETFs last month. 

Fixed-income investors are looking for an out of rising yields and lower bond prices, and junk bonds might be the place for income investors to find relief. According to BlackRock, the underlying credit risk is much lower than the market is assuming, because high-yield issuers actually have strong stable balance sheets. BR and KKKR & Co. Inc. are purchasing more junk bonds and similar market segments given their relative value. While they do expect market conditions to tighten they do not anticipate an unusually high default rate. Investors should be weary of additional volatility that could be induced by macro factors moving forward.

Finsum: If a bond market crisis hits high yield debt due to a full-blown recession, the Fed would most likely roll back the tightening currently taking place. 

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