Displaying items by tag: yields
One of the biggest surprises in the rise of ETFs has been the dominance of stocks over bonds. Bonds have always had some liquidity challenges for individual investors, so at the outset one would have expected bond ETFs to do well since they greatly enhanced accessibility to the asset class. However, while stock ETFs have exploded, bond ETFs have been more of a steady progression, but things are heating up. Bonds represent 15% of the total ETF market, but are growing quickly, with the market size doubling to $1.5 tn by 2022.
FINSUM: We think bond ETF demand will rise in line with rates. Once people start seeing 5% yields plus on solid bonds with short durations we think there will be more and more buying.
PIMCO, perhaps the most famous bond investor in the world, has just published a piece covering their view of where yields are headed. Their conclusion is that they do see the risk for rates rising as the US budget deficit grows and the economy strengthens, but that on the whole they are not too concerned about a big jump. Their view is best summarized in their own words, “Nevertheless, we believe powerful forces are working against a permanent increase in the trajectory of economic growth in the U.S., including the aging population, productivity trends, sovereign indebtedness, credit growth, and an imbalance between savings and investments”.
FINSUM: Our readers will have noticed that this view exactly matches what we have been saying about bond yields.
Despite a seemingly very hawkish Fed, bond traders just aren’t buying it, according to Bloomberg. Traders think the economy is burning very hot, and that the Fed, despite rhetoric, is actually content to just stick to only gradual rate hikes. According to one CIO, “The bond market is telling the Fed we see rising inflation pressures and if you are going to be gradual and crawl into three more rate hikes this year we are not going to wait around”, continuing “The long end of the yield curve is tightening for the Fed”.
FINSUM: Fed minutes did not show that the bank was considering four hikes this year, and the market thinks they should be.
In an article that contrasts strongly to some others we are running today, here is a different view on bonds coming out of the Wall Street Journal—that the bull market is far from over. The argument is based on two interconnected factors. The first is that rates and yields do look likely to rise in the short term, but at the same time, there are many signs the business cycle is poised to end, which will bring on a recession. When that happens, yields will once again plunge, keeping the bond market surging.
FINSUM: If a recession does come then rates and yields will likely drop again. Unless of course inflation sticks around and we get caught in a stagflationary period.
Whether one likes it or not, Treasury yields hitting 3%, which they look bound to do, will be a major event. The big question is what to do once it happens. Is it the signal of a sharp move higher in yields, or will it be the climax to a short-lived selloff? The reality is that if Treasuries move just a little above three, there could be a strong wave of selling. However, strategies betting against volatility have been paired back in recent weeks, so the selling might not be as furious as one might fear.
FINSUM: Nobody has any idea what will happen if Treasuries move above 3%. As far as bonds, we expect that there will be more and more organic buyers above 3%, which should keep things in check. On the stock side, we do not see why a move higher would be too bad, as the spread to equity yields will still be wide.