(New York)

There has been a lot of speculation about rising rates and whether the Fed might increase the pace of its hikes. However, until yesterday, that fear had not really exhibited itself in yields. Now everything is changed. Accordingly, Barron’s has run a piece highlighting two funds to help protect your portfolio from rising rates. One is the Loomis Sayles Bond fund (LSBRX) and the other is the Oakmark Equity & Income Fund (OAKBX). The former takes an all-bond approach to offset rate rises by loading up on shorter maturities. The Oakmark fund usually holds around 60% equities, with a mix of bonds making up the rest.

FINSUM: These are interesting choices. Whether to buy passive or active funds to offset rate hikes right now has to be the advisor’s choice. ETFs and mutual funds can both be good options depending on the approach one wants to take.

(New York)

The big global selloff in sovereign bonds, which included US treasury bonds, has spilled over into the corporate bond sector in a big way. One of the biggest ETFs tracking US corporate bonds fell to 2013 lows today. “The jump in rates is inevitably detrimental to long-duration credit performance, with LQD a classic example”, said an analyst, citing BlackRock’s popular LQD corporate bond ETF. While corporate earnings look healthy, the big issue is that investment grade bonds tend to have higher durations than high yield, which means they suffer more when rates rise.

FINSUM: We wonder how much this jump in yields might start to really affect the giant mass of BBB bonds. This kind of move in yields could prove a tipping point.

(New York)

Have you heard of the new “doom loop”? The term may seem vaguely familiar, and follows in a long line of sensationalist financial terms. Just like in its origin during the European debt crisis, the term once again refers to a European state sinking under the crushing weight of its own debt. You guessed it, Italy. The doom loop refers to the European bank habit of loading up on sovereign bonds, and in turn creating a negative reinforcment cycle where bonds fall in value, which leads to serious concerns over a bank meltdown, which then exacerbate the original economic fears. That is exactly what is now occurring after Italian bonds sold off steeply following the country’s wild budget approval.

FINSUM: Italy is one of the very largest debt markets and economies in the world, and a full scale meltdown there would surely impact global markets, even the Teflon-coated US stock market.

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