Bonds: Total Market

(New York)

You may normally think of it in terms of stocks, but “buy low, sell high” applies to bonds just as much, and that is a good way to think of the market right now. With yields having fallen so far since last year, one strategist said it was time to accept the “the present the Fed has given us”, and swap out bonds for floating rate securities, which have lagged this rally. The scale of returns in the bond market is impressive. For instance, the iShares 20+ year Treasury Bond ETF has risen over 9% since the beginning of the year.


FINSUM: It seems unlikely to us that bond yields are going to drop much further, which means there is little reason to wait for further gains.

(New York)

With all of the volatility of the last months, bond ETFs are taking on a new life. As an asset class, bond ETFs have surged in popularity in recent years as a much easier and cheaper way of accessing bond market liquidity. Recently, bond ETFs have seen their role morph. Whereas they have often been seen as a safe haven from periods of volatility, they are now being used as a risk management tool, says the head of iShares U.S. Wealth Advisory Product Consulting at BlackRock.


FINSUM: So many of the newer bond ETFs are designed to thrive in volatile markets, not just provide a low volatility safe haven. This means they are more of a proactive than reactive product.

(New York)

One of the best indicators of the health of the economy from the last several years has been the strength of the labor market. In particular, low unemployment and jobless claims have highlighted a tight labor market traditionally associated with a strong economy. However, what if the opposite was the case? Recent academic studies show a new recession indicator: full employment. Historically, downturns have typically started about 12 months following the lowest unemployment rate reached in a cycle.


FINSUM: We are currently at 3.7% unemployment, which is VERY low. It seems like the economy is exactly in the “12 months from a recession” position, at least according to this research.

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