Displaying items by tag: bonds

Wednesday, 20 December 2023 03:00

Treasury Yields Drop Following CPI, Dovish FOMC

There was strength across the board in fixed income following an inflation report that continued last month’s cooling trend and a dovish FOMC meeting. The yield on the 10-Y was 27 basis points lower, while the yield on the 2-Y dropped by 36 basis points. 


The November CPI report showed a monthly gain of 0.1% for the headline figure which was in-line with expectations and a slight increase from last month’s unchanged print. Core CPI came in at 3.1% on an annual basis which was consistent with expectations. Overall, the report indicates that inflation continues to moderate and is getting closer to the Fed’s desired levels.


While fixed income rallied following the CPI, the rally accelerated following the dovish FOMC meeting and press conference. The Fed held rates steady but surprised markets as it now expects 3 rate cuts in 2024. It also downgraded its 2024 inflation forecast to 2.4% from 2.6%. 


In his press conference, Chair Powell affirmed progress on inflation and noted that the economy was slowing in recent months especially from Q3’s rapid pace. He added that high rates were negatively impacting business investment and the housing market. Markets jumped on his remark that further rate hikes were ‘not likely’ although possible if necessary. 

Finsum: Treasury yields were sharply lower following a soft CPI report and dovish FOMC meeting. Stocks and bonds were bought higher as the Fed is now forecasting 3 rate cuts in 2024. 


Published in Wealth Management
Friday, 15 December 2023 06:16

ETFs Experiencing Major Inflows in Q4

A sizzling rally in stocks and bonds is leading investors to scoop up ETFs. In November, the iShares 20+ Yr. Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) was up 9.9%, while the Morningstar Global Markets Index, a gauge for global equities, was up 9.2%. 


The major driver of the rally is increased optimism about interest rates given positive news regarding inflation while the economy continues to avoid a recession. This means the biggest gains were found in interest-rate sensitive sectors which have been among the most battered since the Fed embarked on tightening policy early in 2022. 


There were also $110 billion inflows into US ETFs with $77 billion going into equities and $31 billion into fixed income ETFs. This was a 1.6% increase from last month and total ETF flows should easily exceed $500 billion, setting a new record. Fixed income ETFs saw a 2.2% growth rate on a monthly basis and inflows are up 14.3% compared to last year, exceeding equities’ growth rate of 5.6%. 


Active ETFs continue to grow and account for $21 billion of inflows. YTD, total inflows are $116 billion which exceeds $90 billion in 2022. Some areas of growth in the segment are alternative assets and inverse funds. 

Finsum: 2023 is set to be a record year in terms of ETF inflows. Fixed income ETFs and active funds are two of the biggest areas of growth. 


Published in Wealth Management
Friday, 15 December 2023 06:15

High Yield Bonds Starting to Attract Interest

High yield bond ETFs are seeing a surge of inflows as risk appetites reignite. In November, US-listed high yield bond ETFs had $10.8 billion of inflows which surpassed the previous record of $8.6 billion in April of 2020. The inflows in November were enough to offset the $8.7 billion of outflows in the previous 3 months. Globally, there was $127.5 billion of inflows into ETFs which was the highest amount since December 2021.


There was strength across certain parts of the fixed income complex as investment grade corporate bond ETFs saw $10 billion inflows which is the most since January. In contrast, Treasuries saw their lowest levels of inflows since January 2022. There was a sharp decline from the $30.4 billion inflows in October to just $4.3 billion in November, a reflection of the U-turn in sentiment. 


According to Karim Chedid, head of investment strategy for BlackRock’s iShares arm in the Emea region, “Investors have cash to put to work, and if the assessment of the investment environment is better than expected, that dry powder can be put to work.” Another factor is that retail investors have many more low-cost options when it comes to high yield ETFs which seem like an ideal vehicle to take advantage of a ‘soft landing’ scenario which should be bullish for the asset class. 

Finsum: High yield ETFs saw a surge of inflows in November. Here are some of the reasons why the category should benefit from a soft landing. 


Published in Wealth Management

Treasury yields were higher following the November jobs report which showed a bigger than expected decline in the unemployment rate. The report suggests that the labor market remains tight which could prolong the Fed’s hiking cycle. However, the bulk of the gain in yields was given up in ensuing sessions as traders remain more focused on weakening inflation and softer economic growth.


According to the Labor Department, the US economy added 199,000 jobs in November which was just above consensus expectations of 190,000 jobs added and an improvement from an increase of 150,000 jobs in October. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% below consensus expectations of 3.9%. Some note that the report was helped by auto and entertainment workers returning to work after strikes. 


Some traders are looking for labor market weakness as the next impetus for the Fed to shift its policy. Clearly, this report dispelled notions that the economy is contracting and provides more ammunition for the ‘soft landing’ hypothesis. 


Wage growth also moderated to fall to 0.4% monthly and 4% on an annual basis. In terms of the economy, government and healthcare were the biggest sources of jobs growth, while the retail sector and transportation & warehousing shed the most jobs.

Finsum: Treasury yields were slightly higher following the November jobs report which came in stronger than expectations. 


Published in Wealth Management
Wednesday, 13 December 2023 04:58

Rocky Road to Lower Rates in 2024: Schwab

Charles Schwab is forecasting positive returns for fixed income as the economy slows and inflation continues to fall. However, it expects volatility to linger given uncertainty about the Fed’s policy moves. 


Schwab notes that yields have been unusually volatile as the 10-year yield has ranged between 3.5% and 5% over the past 12 months. Yet, it believes that short and long-term yields have peaked for the cycle. 


It sees downward pressure for inflation given that supply issues have abated, while it sees the impact of tighter monetary policy continuing to materialize, also adding to downward pressure on inflation. Despite this bullish forecast for bonds, it doesn’t see a return to the pre-Covid era of low rates and quantitative easing (QE). 


In terms of economic growth, Schwab notes some risks as high real rates are impacting the economy as they create more incentives for consumers to save rather than spend. Two more  headwinds are tighter lending standards at banks and the Fed continuing to unwind its balance sheet. Another factor contributing to volatility is that the Fed could elect to keep rates higher as it wouldn’t want to squander gains made in the fight against inflation.

Finsum: Charles Schwab sees positive returns for fixed income in 2024 due to slower economic growth and falling inflation. However, it expects volatility to continue given uncertainty over the Fed.

Published in Wealth Management
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