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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Back to the Future: What Time Is It for Bonds?

Investors often ask us how they should think about bond markets in a time of rising yields. Are we facing a situation similar to 1994? Or worse, could it be like 1981, when five-year US Treasury yields soared to 15%? Our answer often surprises them: we don’t think it’s either.

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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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EM Sovereign Debt 2014: Neither Phoenix nor Failure

Emerging-market (EM) sovereign bonds were burned badly in 2013. Will they rise from the ashes in 2014? We believe some will and some won’t. The watchword for 2014 will be selectivity.

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Detroit and Illinois Work Toward Resolving Their Issues

Recent negative news about Detroit’s bankruptcy and Illinois’s pension overhaul has raised fears about the poor financial health of many cities and states. And it’s shaken individual investors’ confidence in municipal bonds. Just how worried should investors be? Not very, in our opinion, as bond defaults remain very rare. In fact, we view recent events [...]

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Want Safer Yield? Cycle to Europe

Gershon Distenfeld (pictured) and Jørgen Kjærsgaard For high-yield investors with large US credit exposures, these are uncertain times. The pricing of securities is becoming more volatile, spurred by interest-rate volatility, and companies are borrowing more, causing concern about their future creditworthiness. The solution, in our view, is to diversify—and we regard the European high-yield markets as attractive.

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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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The Fed Did Nothing—but Bond Investors Can Act Now

The US Federal Reserve surprised the market on September 18 when it announced that it wouldn’t “taper” its monthly US$85 billion asset purchase program until the economy strengthens. Many investors saw this as a reprieve. We see it as a chance to position bond portfolios for rising rates.

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Illinois and California: Similar Challenges, Different Approaches

Joe Rosenblum (pictured), Neene Jenkins and John Ceffalio Every state faces challenges when it comes to balancing the books, but not every state is equally effective at tackling them. The responses of California and Illinois to post-2008 difficulties show how different the approaches can be—and how much is at stake.

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