Perspectives Blog

From tactical to core – The case for emerging market debt

Columbia Management, Investment Team | June 2, 2014

For many investors, emerging market debt could be viewed as a core-portfolio holding rather than a short-term tactical investment. 2013’s re-pricing created value in terms of higher yields, a more dedicated investor base and a better relative value argument. Flexibility across the full spectrum of EMD investment opportunities is extremely important, as emerging markets are not homogenous. By Patrick McConnell, Director, Fixed Income Product Ma…

Credit alternatives in government-backed debt

Columbia Management, Investment Team | June 23, 2014

One way investors may boost yields without taking on undue credit risk is through U.S. government agency debt. While many investors associate U.S. agency debt with very low yields, other types of agency debt can offer significant spreads to Treasuries with a modest decline in liquidity. We have been increasing our allocation to the agency market in core portfolios as a way to reduce credit risk while maintaining competitive yields. By Carl W….

Is Europe heading for Japanese-style deflation?

Martin Harvey, Fund Manager, Threadneedle International Ltd | August 4, 2014

…n and Ireland, this was not the root cause of the problem. Initially, it was Europe’s exposure to global trade that caused a steep drop in economic activity in the wake of the Lehman collapse, while the onset of the sovereign debt crisis later played a part. The scale of the initial drop in the Eurostoxx index was similar to that seen in Japan in the early 1990s (Exhibit 1). On the surface, it appears that the Europeans are adopting correct polic…

Trouble in paradise: Q&A about Puerto Rico bonds

Chad Farrington, CFA, Head of Municipal Bond Credit Research and Senior Portfolio Manager | January 2, 2014

Why has Puerto Rico become such an issue now? Should investors be concerned with a downgrade or default? Is Puerto Rico a systemic risk for the municipal market? Historically, Puerto Rico (PR) bonds’ high yield and triple tax exemption (federal, state and local) had been a big lure for many institutional investors, such as mutual funds. PR debt exposure in municipal bond funds, namely single-state municipal bond funds, proved advantageous for sh…

Half-time report on the U.S. consumer

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | July 28, 2014

U.S. consumers have taken a more cautious attitude toward debt and been more selective about using it for discretionary purchases. With consumers using credit cards less and using debit cards much more, the supports for higher discretionary spending are keyed off income and wages and also employment. With low debt use and income growth holding back consumption and demand, households will require stronger job growth and real wage gains to accele…

A primer on preferred securities

Carl Pappo, Head of Core Fixed Income | March 10, 2014

…including the structures, the motivation of issuers and investors and why we think preferred securities make sense in the current market environment. What is a preferred security? Preferred securities carry attributes of both debt and equity securities. Preferred securities rank higher in the capital structure relative to common equity, as they have a priority claim on dividend payments and a higher claim on assets in a bankruptcy. Preferred secu…

In the land of 7 footers, 6’8″ plays guard

Fred Copper, Senior Portfolio Manager | May 5, 2014

…r each year for the next five years is a powerful incentive for investors to hunt for returns that will at least not be certain to lose money in real terms, even if that means dabbling in asset classes such as emerging market debt that until recently were considered too racy for a standard portfolio, or indeed buying stocks after six years of sharp gains. This risk taking behavior is an intentional and essential part of central bank policy. Post…