Eq: Large Cap
Pick your favorite recession signal and there is a chance it's flashing the warning signs. Most are eyeing the 2-to-10 year yield curve which inverted in early April. Investors worried about the recession should turn to high-yield bonds, but specifically, those ‘sin’ goods are the best remedy for the recession. Alcohol and Tobacco are two of the best performing industries in the 12-months leading to a recession and the years after. Food and beverage, utilities, and healthcare all are great performers as well. The high yield bonds to avoid are telecommunications and retail shopping, as their returns can vary drastically.
Finsum: Junk bond yields are relatively high right now and less sensitive to Fed moves, high yield bonds are a potentially good alternative right now.
Annuities are one of the safest financial securities that exist, but that doesn't mean they are without some risk. Sure one of the biggest risks to an annuity is dying early, but there are other external risks like liquidity. Annuities are among the most illiquid contracts and often come with heavy penalty fees in withdrawals. Additionally, if an annuity company goes bankrupt they aren’t regulated by FINRA, and state and local insurance agencies only cover between $250,000-500,000 in losses. In the current environment, inflation growth is a substantial risk to annuities because it devalues the future payment stream in a fixed rate annuity, and even if the Fed raises rates to curb inflation this will only make it a less attractive yield in comparison to the market.
Finsum: Overall, annuities look like one of the safest securities and variable rate annuities may mitigate interest rate risk.
Quantitative easing was the process of flooding the market with money in exchange for buying up long-term government debt and MBS; quantitative tightening was coined by Citigroup in order to describe the unwinding of this process. Goldman Sachs says this is causing increased volatility and sapping liquidity out of the treasury market. This QT could come with an abundance of arbitrage opportunities particularly in U.S. interest rate markets. Additionally, Goldman says QT will widen the gaps in new and old securities and narrow treasury yields and swap rates. F
INSUM: The treasury market is ripe for turmoil with the upcoming rate hike in March.
If the treasury market isn’t upside down it’s certainly moving there. Yields are rising which means prices are falling. The worst part is with inflation picking up there is a lot of room to move in longer-term treasury bonds. So where should investors turn to? Fallen angel bonds and their associated funds. Fallen angels are investment-grade bonds that have been recently downgraded to junk status. The biggest benefactor is that these relatively riskier bonds have a way higher return but there is less interest rate pass-through. That means as the Fed begins to strangle the government bond market the lower-grade corporate bonds won’t feel much of the pain. Many of these corporations have relatively strong balance sheets and the risk is overblown, so profits can recover quickly.
FINSUM: The fallen angel fixed income ETF market has an incredible yield advantage, and there is so much fiscal and monetary support that the risk is probably smaller than the yields are saying.
Active funds get overlooked by many investors in their retirement portfolios because investors view them with a certain amount of risk aversion. However, rising inflation and positive income expectation make them a viable investment alternative. For global diversity, investors should consider SPDR SSgA Global Allocation ETF and the Invesco Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Strategy No K-1 ETF which have unique exposures. For those wanting to maintain fixed income exposure but better yield, First Trust Low Duration Opportunities ETF and First Trust Prefered Securities Income ETF are both debt-focused funds that are great for retirement. Active ETFs have a fee advantage over the often considered mutual funds.
FINSUM: These are great alternatives given the pending interest rate and inflation risk that are both permeating bond markets.
There is a growing interest among investors, particularly when it comes to retirement, in annuities. Nearly 4/5ths of investors have interest in annuities but as few as 10% of retirement plans offer them. Things are changing at fidelity however, as they are giving the opinions for a guaranteed income direct plan if your employers pick it up. And it seems more employers will be taking on annuities in part of their 401k coverage given the 2020 Secure Act which eased the legal burdens on companies when picking up annuity coverage. Additionally Fidelity is giving the option of naming a beneficiary to your annuity which will curb the biggest concern among investors.
FINSUM: Most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement and for those retiring sooner rather than later an annuity is a more secure bet given market turmoil.