In Marketwatch, Christine Idzelis discusses with Blackrock’s Rick Rieder his current thinking about fixed income given the recent selloff in Treasurie. Rieder is the Chief Investment Officer of Fixed Income for Blackrock and also the manager of the Blackrock Flexible Income ETF, its recent active fixed income ETF launch. The fund offers a 7% yield and invests in a mix of government debt, corporate credit, and securitized assets.
Since inception in late May, the ETF has generated a 1.2% total return. In contrast, popular bond ETFs like the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF and Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF are down about 2% over the same time period. He attributes his outperformance to keeping “interest-rate exposure low” with a duration of 2 years.
The majority of weakness in the fixed income market in recent weeks has been concentrated in long-duration assets. He believes that active fixed income ETFs offer exposure to areas like mortgage-backed securities and high-yield bonds. Rieder also believes that active fixed income is best suited to navigate the current market environment which offers very attractive yields but performance is likely to be bifurcated as long as rates continue to rise.
Finsum: Rick Rieder, the CIO of Blackrock Fixed Income and portfolio manager of its active fixed income ETF, shares his thoughts on the current macro environment and benefits of active fixed income.
As the summer ends and fall rolls around, it’s natural to expect a surge in market volatility. This is even more relevant this year given that stocks have enjoyed a period of low volatility and gently rising prices throughout most of the summer despite a variety of challenges such as rising rates, stubborn inflation, and pockets of weakness in the economy.
Further, history shows that periods of sharp increase in rates can often trigger stress in parts of the financial system that can have knock-on effects in the real economy. The most recent example is the crisis in regional banks due to an inverted yield curve which could have negative effects on the flow of credit in the economy.
For ETFTrends, Ben Hernandez discusses how direct indexing benefits from these surges in volatility. Direct indexing differs from traditional investing in funds as it allows investors to re-create an index in their portfolio.
This allows tax losses to be harvested as losing positions can be sold with the proceeds re-invested into stocks with similar factor scores. Then, these losses can be used to offset gains in other parts of the portfolio, leading to a lower tax bill.
Finsum: Direct indexing has many benefits but the most impactful in terms of alpha is its ability to generate tax savings for clients during volatile markets.
Entering 2023, many were expecting a big year for gold due to high inflation, rising recession risk, and considerable amounts of geopolitical turmoil. Yet, this hasn’t come to fruition. Gold prices enjoyed a decent rally in the first-half of the year but has given back the majority of these gains in recent weeks.
The most likely culprit is that real interest rates continue to rise as inflation moderates, but the Federal Reserve continues to hike rates. When real rates are rising, gold becomes less attractive as an investment because it offers no return to inventors. However when real rates are negative and/or falling, gold becomes more attractive to own. Thus, the best combination for gold prices would be a weak economy coupled with high inflation. As long as the economy continues to defy skeptics, a breakout for gold prices is unlikely.
The metal hit an all-time high of $2,078 in March 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine when geopolitical tensions culminated. It re-tested these levels in March of this year following the crisis in regional banks when many thought the Fed would have to intervene and possibly cut rates to support the banking system. Since then, prices have declined by about 6%.
Finsum: Gold prices have stagnated following strong performance in the first-half of the year. Currently, prices are likely going to move lower as long as Treasury yields keep chugging higher.
The first-half of the year was defined by stock market strength and bond market wobbliness. In the second-half of the year, we are seeing an inversion of sorts as the bond market has weakened, while the stock market has been giving back recent gains.
This is a natural consequence of the market consensus being upended as it’s clear that the Fed is not going to budge from its ultra-hawkish stance for at least the rest of the year, inflation is stickier than expected, and that the economy is resilient enough to continue evading a recession. Treasury yields are also responding with the 2-year note yield reaching 5%, and the 10-year yield breaking out above 4.2%.
Previous instances of Treasuries reaching these levels have resulted in equity weakness as it portends greater stress for banks, housing, and other parts of the economy. However according to Yardeni Research, bond weakness is more driven by a widening federal deficit and a better than expected economy. Another factor is the ‘pricing out’ of pivot in Fed policy from the second-half of this year to later in 2024.
The firm sees the market continuing to rise despite yields remaining elevated and believes the S&P 500 will make new highs next year.
Finsum: US Treasury yields are rising and leading to a pullback in the stock market. Some of the factors are the resilience of inflation, a stronger than expected economy, and a wider than expected federal deficit.
For ThinkAdvisor, Jeff Berman reviews some takeaways from the “Future of Practice Management: Boosting Business in 2023.” Overall, the majority of advisors are struggling with growth while a slim minority are accounting for the bulk of growth in terms of clients and assets.
In fact between 2016 and 2022, the average annual growth rate of revenue for registered investment advisors (RIA) was 11.3%. However, this was mostly due to the market appreciating rather than advisor-driven growth. According to research from Charles Schwab, most advisors see growth between 6 and 7% primarily due to referrals, while they lose around 5% every year due to clients taking distributions.
In terms of growth tips, the panel recommends that advisors start using AI tools especially for marketing and back-office purposes to get more effeicinet. Having an organic growth plan is also essential especially given that most advisor growth is solely due to client referrals and asset appreciation. Part of the growth plan is defining your ideal client and figuring out how you can get in front of them on a regular basis.
Finally, advisors need to think about thier clients holistically, and how their services will improve all aspects of a clients’ life rather than just financial areas. WIth competition from robo-advisors and other technological solutions, advisors need to emphasize the human touch and become a trusted advisor and source of personalized financial advice.
Finsum: Many advisors are falling short when it comes to growth, solely relying on referrals and asset appreciation. Here are some tips on how to accelerate your practice’s growth trajectory.
US Treasury yields surged to their highest levels in 16 years following the release of minutes from the July FOMC meeting. The minutes made clear that the Fed continues to lean in a hawkish direction despite some signs that the economy is decelerating, softness in the labor market, and moderation in inflation. Essentially, it’s another sign that rates will remain ‘higher for longer’ and that any pivot in Fed policy is nowhere near.
In the minutes, the Fed said that there were ‘significant upside risks to inflation, which could require further tightening of monetary policy’. Following the release, yields on the 10-year Treasury reached 4.3% which is the highest level since before the housing collapse and Great Recession in 2007.
In addition to the Fed, there are other factors that are contributing to selling pressure in Treasuries such as foreign governments reducing their holdings and expectations of supply hitting the market in the coming months due to the federal government’s funding needs.
Already, equity markets started to wobble and give back some of the gains made in recent months. Previous breakout in yields have resulted in sharp sell-offs in equities, and there is a risk that it could reignite the crisis in regional banks.
Finsum: US Treasury yields shot up to their highest level in 16 years following hawkish minutes from the July FOMC meeting. Other factors are also contributing to Treasury weakness, and it’s worth watching if it will result in damage to parts of the economy.