Is This Bond for You? Less Liquid, Yields Great

Bond investors have historically enhanced their returns by taking on more interest-rate or credit risk. Today, a third opportunity is emerging for investors: the liquidity premium.

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Rising Rates: The Good, the Bad…No Ugly

By Doug Peebles (pictured) and Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky of AllianceBernstein (NYSE:AB) The US Fed has said it will almost certainly boost short-term interest rates by 2015, and many bond investors are focused intently on managing the risks of rising rates. But it’s also important to recognize that there are benefits.

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Multisector Plan Can Help Avoid the Crowd in Credit

Chasing returns into—and out of—specific credit sectors happens so often in bond markets that it hardly rates a raised eyebrow. But running with the herd can be risky, which is probably why Federal Reserve officials reportedly have discussed slapping exit fees on bond funds to avoid a disorderly rush to the exit.

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Reaching for Yield: Worth the Risk?

Investors seeking more robust returns in a lower-interest-rate environment often look to high-yield bonds for answers. But it’s critical that they don’t reach too far down the credit spectrum in search of higher yields—as tempting as it may be.

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Bond History: Rhyming, Not Repeating

When the Fed does eventually start raising interest rates, at AllianceBernstein we don’t expect to see bonds experiencing the dire scenarios of 1981 or 1994. Instead, the 2003–2006 period of slow and measured rate normalization seems more likely. But it’s not a perfect match, and we do see some important investment factors to consider.

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High Yield: The Perfect Storm That Wasn’t

In a year when the US Federal Reserve caused jitters over quantitative easing, the US government endured a shutdown and investors shifted focus to equities, it’s no surprise that pure “duration-sensitive” bonds like US Treasuries had negative returns as interest rates spiked. But high yield emerged relatively unscathed, returning over 7% for the year.

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Seven Lessons Every Fixed-Income Investor Should Learn from 2013

After more than two decades of a fixed-income bull market, 2013 was not a great year for the bond market. Rates bottomed out, many mutual funds had negative returns and bond mutual funds experienced a record $80 billion in redemptions as investors hit the panic button. But it would be foolhardy to assume that 2014 [...]

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Dig Deep—Then Dig Some More—to Uncover Risks in EM Corporate Debt

Emerging-market (EM) corporate debt returned big numbers for investors in recent years, as the sector rode a general wave of optimism about the future. But those days are gone. In 2013, successful investors have had to take a more painstaking path.

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Are Bank-Loan Investors Getting What They Bargained For?

Ashish Shah (pictured) and Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky Investors who chose high-yield bank loans over high-yield bonds earlier this year, expecting to be insulated against rising rates, might be surprised to find that bonds might have worked out better.

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GSE Reform Lumbers Up to the Starting Gate

Momentum is finally building to do something with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bipartisan Corker-Warner proposal, now making the rounds on Capitol Hill, aims to dissolve the GSEs and start fresh. Meanwhile, Fannie and Freddie are testing innovative mortgage-security structures that transfer the risk of borrower defaults to the private sector.

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