Displaying items by tag: bonds
Q1 ended about as poorly as possible for the treasury market as losses according to ICE indices hit…see the full story on our partner Magnifi’s site
Those with a lot of money in tech stocks may be starting to breathe a sigh of relief. After a rough period to start the year. The last few weeks has been quite positive for tech, so the worst may be behind us, right? The answer is that it may not be, according to some analysts. There are two huge trends (and one macro factor) that look likely to weigh on the sector for the next year. Firstly, three of the very largest stocks—Facebook, Apple, and Google, have gotten to the point in size where their growth is going to start inevitably slowing, which means the narrative around them will change. Additionally, the success of the vaccine rollout is increasingly, which means a reversal to pre-COVID norms seems likely. Tech stocks are also quite rate sensitive, which gives them a lot of “Fed risk”.
FINSUM: While it is hard to argue with the interest rate risk, we cannot get on board with the other two narratives. Everyone knows FAANG stocks are huge, the growth story is no secret. More generally though, we just don’t buy into the narrative that these stocks will suffer from the “reopening”. Consumer habits in many areas (e.g. grocery shopping and increased food delivery) have changed and that will continue to allow big tech stocks to grab market share and grow. Just ask your grown children and friends how they feel about going back to the grocery store….
Bonds are incredibly expensive right now, but despite this, they may keep going higher, says Goldman Sachs. The firm is specifically referring to high yield bonds, which are very pricey right now and have low spreads to Treasuries. For example, only 10% of high yield bonds currently trade with spreads above 5 percentage points above Treasuries, compared to 25% in November. This makes Goldman believe the easiest gains are already in the bag, but given that high yield bonds are sensitive to an improving economy and they have appreciated even while Treasuries have fallen, Goldman feels the asset class could be in for more appreciation.
FINSUM: This makes sense. It is also worth noting that historically speaking, high yield bonds have no correlation to the performance of Treasuries.
It is pretty easy to sum up what seems like it will be a forthcoming bull market in high yield bonds: “2021 will be the year of the upgrade”. That quote comes from Matt Brill, head of North America investment-grade at Invesco. Ratings agencies are reportedly on the cusp of upgrading between $100 bn and $300 bn of junk bonds to investment grade this year and next. Fund managers are trying to buy the bonds they think will be upgraded as such a move will cause a lot of arbitrary buying by index trackers.
FINSUM: There were huge downgrades last year as the pandemic wiped out prices in big parts of the sector. Now, with the economy resurgent, big upgrades look likely, which should give the whole asset class wings.
Investors may fear it, but we all know the big tax package is coming. Personal income tax rates, and likely business rates will rise. State and local taxes will be affected too. So one big question is how this will pay out for muni bonds. The answer, at least according to Franklin Templeton, is that munis are going to do great. The reason why could not be simpler: with tax rates rising, the relative value of munis rises since their tax exempt status because relatively more valuable.
FINSUM: Anxiety about the forthcoming tax plan is rising, and that is a great tailwind for munis. Couple that with the fact that Democrats are more in favor of federal support for municipalities and you have a great combination for muni bonds.