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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Don’t Be Passive About Rising Rates

Though they’ve defied expectations this year, higher interest rates appear to be all but inevitable. Investors need to take measure of the rate sensitivity in their portfolios—and stay agile—to negotiate the rough market crosscurrents a rate reversal may bring.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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When Rising Rates Hurt Stocks, How Bad Did It Get?

By Chris Marx (pictured) and Alison Martier A reader of our recent blog post about stocks in rising-rate environments asked us for more details on the magnitude and timing of any stock-market sell-offs during those periods. They were uncommon but ugly, so we thought our answer warranted another post.

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