Displaying items by tag: bonds
As the calendar turns to a new year, it’s an opportune time to check in how experts are thinking about various asset classes. According to Jason Bloom, Invesco’s head of fixed income and alternatives, the market has been overly defensive for the last 2 years. However, this attitude is now changing as the consensus increasingly believes that a soft landing is likely.
Flows into fixed income have fluctuated with investor sentiment rather than in search of optimal returns. As a result, many investors may be missing out on opportunities and underexposed in the event of a rising market, he warned.
Bloom added that, “The market has really been in this state of sort of almost living in a world that is very different from the truth and reality of the underlying economy. For almost two years now, we’ve been three months away from a recession. The market has been perfectly wrong in predicting a Fed rate cut six months from now for the last two years. That trend has been incredible.”
Bloom wants to continue positioning against the consensus by betting on the economy remaining healthier than expected, and the Fed cutting less than expected. He believes inflation will continue to moderate although the 2% target is more of a floor rather than a ceiling. Given this outlook, he favors high-yield and leveraged loans given that default rates are likely to stay low if the economy remains robust.
Finsum: Invesco’s Jason Bloom is optimistic about fixed income in 2024. He recommends continuing to bet against the consensus trade by expecting a healthy economy in 2024 and fewer rate cuts than expected.
Nick Zamparelli, senior VP and CIO of Sequoia Financial Group, shared some insights from one of Sequoia’s model portfolio. In terms of allocations, 25% is liquid fixed income, 38% is liquid public equities, and 36% is alternatives which includes private credit, private equity, hedge funds, and real assets. He credits Sequoia’s success to mixing in illiquid investments to boost risk-adjusted returns.
In terms of his outlook, the biggest challenge is on the fixed income side and when to move from short-duration assets to longer-duration ones. Many have been stung by being too early in expecting the Fed’s hiking cycle to force the economy into a recession. Instead, the economy proved to be more resilient than expected and yields kept trending higher for most of the year until recently.
Regardless, he sees opportunities in fixed income given that yields are sufficiently elevated to offer diversification and attractive returns. Additionally, he sees the asset class returning to its traditional role as offering diversification against equities.
In terms of equities, Zamparelli sees upside for small cap stocks given that they have recently underperformed but history shows outperformance over longer periods of time. Another area of interest is international and emerging market equities which have underperformed for the last 16 years. He believes these stocks will benefit if the dollar weakens.
Finsum: Nick Zamparelli, the senior VP and CIO of Sequoia Financial Group, shared some insights from managing a 50/50 model portfolio including thoughts on fixed income and equities.
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.
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.
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.