Perspectives Blog

The end of “risk-on/risk-off”

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

…ducing 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 regime posed a problem for multi-asset portfolios as many of the traditional diversifiers of equities increasingly b…

How will California’s drought affect water utility revenue bonds?

Ty Schoback, Senior Municipal Analyst | November 5, 2014

 California is in its fourth year of drought, one of the worst in the past century.  Key factors when assessing credit quality of water utilities are water supply and source diversity.  Credit strength of California water utilities hinges on political willingness to raise rates.  Potential impact on California-specific and national muni bond funds. California is in the midst of its worst dry spell in the last one hundred years. For most water…

Special report – 2014 mid-year review and outlook

Columbia Management, Investment Team | June 16, 2014

…ncreases in the second half of 2014 as bond markets begin to reflect the increasingly mature recovery. Municipal bonds James Dearborn, Head of municipal bonds investments Review: Municipal bonds had a strong first half of 2014. While the drop in Treasury rates since the end of 2013 is the primary reason for the strong performance, there are specific municipal bond market factors that bolstered tax-exempts’ returns including: a dearth of new suppl…

Asset allocation: The conundrum of 2014

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

When economic growth levels off, the headwinds for bonds subside, which fits the patterns of 2014 so far. With bond yields at current levels, the attractiveness of interest rate risk from a valuation standpoint is meager. Should the economic data reaccelerate, we would expect equities to perform well and rate sensitive bonds to struggle. In 2013, both the S&P 500 Index and the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds finished the year at their high…

January asset allocation update

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

…xed 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 potentially negative over a longer holding period for a number of fixed income markets. Although interest rate risk remains strategically unatt…

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

Columbia Management, Investment Team | July 14, 2014

…-hold approach ultimately would be a losing strategy. While Treasury yields may be low, they are still positive. Bonds funds that have positive duration can still generate positive returns if yields rise gradually. • Shortening portfolio duration for extended periods of time is not free and typically will lead to lower returns, especially if rates do not rise. (A normal yield curve illustrates that shorter maturity bonds yield less than longer ma…

Puerto Rico’s double-downgrade

Michael Taylor, Senior Municipal Analyst | February 10, 2014

…me of the Commonwealth’s swap transactions may be terminated and rollover risk on mandatory tender floating-rate bonds could be escalated — all pressuring current liquidity levels. The Administration’s ability to navigate troubled waters over the coming weeks and months, including the anticipated sale of sales tax obligation bonds later this month, will be important indicators of near- term credit stability. Systemic risk While market reaction to…