Perspectives Blog

Gut check: The outlook on fixed income

Colin J. Lundgren, CFA, Head of Fixed Income | February 24, 2014

The next big move in rates may be triggered by concerns about possible future Fed rate hikes. High-quality bonds may struggle to generate coupon-like returns. Emerging markets may ultimately benefit from the synchronized uptick in growth in global developed markets. With nearly two months of the year behind us, we thought now would be a good time to see how the fixed-income market is faring in 2014 and assess our outlook. We asked our investme…

Should your income be fixed?

David King, CFA, Senior Portfolio Manager | December 16, 2013

…complementary. An investment where you expect complete return of your capital at a future point in time is conservative. So is an investment with regular, defined cash returns. No wonder high-quality government and corporate bonds are a huge asset class. It feels uncomfortable to challenge the merits of popular and conservative investment vehicles, but today there is basis for doing so. The historical role of bonds, bank term deposits, savings a…

The perils and pitfalls of buying individual municipal bonds

James Dearborn, Head of Municipal Bonds | February 27, 2014

Volatile ratings leave retail investors at risk Retail investors could pay higher prices Deck is stacked against retail investors With an increasing focus on the benefits of owning municipal bonds — attractive after-tax yields, low historical default rates and relatively low volatility — investors are again considering purchasing individual muni bonds. But the deck may be stacked against the retail investor. The allure of owning individual bon…

January asset allocation update

Jeffrey Knight, CFA, Head of Global Asset Allocation | February 3, 2014

As we assess the global markets in early 2014, our overall portfolio strategy remains modestly overweight equities and underweight fixed income. While we have been anticipating an increase in volatility, we still believe equities will outperform bonds over the course of the year. The current low level of interest rates suggests returns from bonds remain unattractive on a longer term strategic basis. Real returns are likely to be low to potential…

The end of “risk-on/risk-off”

Anwiti Bahuguna, Ph.D., Senior Portfolio Manager | February 3, 2014

…ng markets (EM) vs. developed markets (DM)) used to be low, but also rose to over 80% during this same period, reducing the benefits of cross-regional diversification. Similarly, correlation between equities and high yielding bonds rose from about 50% to over 80%. When investors took risk, most assets rallied with the exception of sovereign bonds. Conversely, when risk sold off, only sovereign bonds had positive returns. This risk-on/risk-off reg…

The importance of taking a long-term perspective

Jeffrey Knight, CFA, Head of Global Asset Allocation | February 3, 2014

…xt five years. So too for other fixed-income classes, where the near-term returns suffer from an expectation of rising yields, but the longer term returns benefit from reinvestment opportunities. Frankly, our expectations for bonds in 2014 are even more meager than our already subdued five-year forecasts. The fact that bonds performed well in January, then, could present an opportunity to reduce duration when the current volatility storm subsides…

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water – The case for long muni bond funds

Catherine Stienstra, Senior Portfolio Manager | January 29, 2014

Why invest in long-term muni bonds? Why investors should focus on tax-free income and total return Many investors fled the muni market in 2013, as $60 billion in mutual fund redemptions attests. Particularly hard hit were longer-maturity funds, likely due to investors anticipating higher interest rates and the negative impact that would have on fixed-income investments, especially longer bonds. While such concerns appear rational, is avoiding…