Low Duration Means Low Risk? Not Necessarily

To protect their portfolios from rising interest rates and volatility, many high-yield investors have headed for short-duration strategies. We think some of the more popular approaches may expose investors to bigger hazards than they realize.

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High-Yield Bonds: Call Waiting

High-yield bonds’ attractive income has made them popular in today’s low-rate environment. But market complacency has caused callable-bond investors to ignore a lurking risk: duration extension in a rising-rate scenario.

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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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Muni Investors Should Watch Both Ends of the Curve

In early 2013, we urged investors to take a hard look at the interest-rate risk in their bond portfolios. If they didn’t do it then, they have a chance to do it now.

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Keep an Eye on LBOs, but Don’t Fret Just Yet

This year’s leveraged buyouts (LBOs) are being financed with more debt and include fewer protections for creditors. Regulators, the press and market participants are watching this closely, and so are we. But we don’t think it’s worth losing sleep over—at least not yet.

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Don’t Skip the Homework: High Yield’s Overlooked Risks

Posted by Gershon Distenfeld (pictured) and Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky of AllianceBernstein (NYSE: AB) Many investors have taken on more risk in their quest for higher returns—especially as signs have pointed to interest rates staying stable until next year. But two key elements are often overlooked: default risk and underwriting standards.

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Bank Loans: Is the Yield Worth the Chase?

Investors who rush into high-yield bank loans seeking competitive returns might find the yield they chase is hardly worth the pursuit. Loan yields—currently quoted at about 5%—seem attractive at first blush, but we think there’s a lot less here than meets the eye.

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Energy Future Holdings Default Highlights Risks of Leveraged Loans

The Texas-sized bankruptcy of Energy Future Holdings, formerly known as TXU, may have been one of the more anticipated defaults of the past few years, but investors can still learn a lesson or two from it.

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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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