Perspectives Blog

Duration for diversification

Columbia Management, Investment Team | November 19, 2013

…, relates to diversification. Since 1992, longer term Treasury securities (7- to 10-year maturity) have delivered an annualized total return of 7.2% (Barclays). Because of rising rates, we expect total returns for longer term Treasuries to fall to around zero for the next 1–2 years. You can think of this as a downward shift in the distribution of returns — instead of a midpoint of 7.2%, the midpoint falls to zero (Exhibit 1). But the critical poi…

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….

Asset allocation: The conundrum of 2014

Jeffrey Knight, CFA, Global Head of Investment Solutions and Asset Allocation | March 3, 2014

…return landscape, while bonds and numerous other assets struggled. The environment apparently changed, though, with the turning of the calendar to 2014. In the New Year, bonds have performed quite well, with yields on 10-year Treasuries, as an example, falling from 3.03% to 2.67% so far this year. Stocks meanwhile, have been volatile, yet stand close to unchanged on a year to date basis. Source: DataStream, February 2014 There are two good reaso…

Fixed income strategies – The pros and cons of generating returns with negative duration

Columbia Management, Investment Team | July 14, 2014

…sell Treasury futures. The former is pretty straightforward, but the latter requires an explanation. Portfolio managers can achieve negative duration shorting Treasury futures, thereby giving the portfolio inverse exposure to Treasuries (when interest rates rise, futures contracts benefit from the decrease in prices). A fund selling enough Treasury futures would achieve a negative duration profile. Keep in mind that selling Treasury futures is no…

U.S. rates — View update

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | April 4, 2014

Compared to the market consensus, our views have been more negative on three key duration fundamentals. Following recent remarks by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, we are now less confident about how to read Yellen’s policy strategy. We are still expecting higher rates; however, we now have less conviction that 3-5yr Treasuries will continue to underperform on the curve. For the last couple of months we have argued that portfolios should remain underw…

What’s the outlook for muni bonds?

James Dearborn, Head of Municipal Bonds | June 19, 2014

…icit requiring less borrowing and attractive relative valuations compared to other bond markets. Apart from the bond friendly decline in rates, municipals enjoyed a confluence of additional factors that helped them outperform Treasuries. These supports include a dearth of new supply, with issuance down more than 25%; a resurgent demand bred of investor appetite for attractive taxable-equivalent yields, compared to other fixed-income alternatives;…

Compelling opportunity in municipal bonds

Catherine Stienstra, Senior Portfolio Manager | November 7, 2013

…vides an attractive opportunity to lock in attractive yields Depending on credit quality and maturity, municipal bond investors today may be able to earn taxable-equivalent yields above 8%, far higher than yields provided by Treasuries or corporate bonds.* The yield curve is steeper than historical averages, allowing for yield pick-up on intermediate- and long-maturity bonds. Municipal/Treasury yield ratios indicate municipal bonds are cheaper v…