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Fixed-Income Insights

In this podcast, portfolio manager Kewjin Yuoh talks about the implications of a flatter U.S. yield curve and uneven global growth for fixed-income markets.

Transcript

PODCAST - 2018 Midyear Investment Outlook

The Investment Conversation: Keeping the Curve in Context

In this podcast, portfolio manager Kewjin Yuoh talks about the implications of a flatter U.S. yield curve and uneven global growth for fixed-income markets.

VO: Welcome to The Investment Conversation, Lord Abbett's ongoing podcast series.

VO: Hello, this is Will Andrews, digital media editor for Lord Abbett. What might the rest of 2018 hold for investors? To find out, we recently gathered five of our investment leaders for a roundtable discussion on the midyear outlook. Visitors to lordabbett.com can view related articles and videos at lordabbett.com/midyearoutlook.

VO: With the Fed shrinking its balance sheet after QE, Kewjin Yuoh, portfolio manager for taxable fixed income for Lord Abbett, talks about what might come next after what he calls the "incredible experiment" in monetary policy:

Yuoh: Regarding monetary policy, I think you have to look at the fact that, as far as what's happening to the yield curve, this is what's supposed to happen. When the Fed tightens, the yield curve is supposed to flatten. And if you look at historical relationships, you've been reading in the news about a potential inversion of the yield curve, and how good an indicator that is of a coming recession—with somewhat around a six- to 24-month lag. I think if you look at the yield curve right now, you can ask a lot of different questions as to why it's happening and consider different scenarios.

We're at a place where we have just come from an incredible monetary policy experiment. Quantitative easing was something that's never been tried before, and you could point to the fact that in a normal economic cycle, after a recession, it is usually fiscal policy and housing that are the traditional drivers of the recovery. And that's what we're actually getting now. We had quantitative easing come to an end and now we have strong housing technicals with continued home- price appreciation and we've got fiscal stimulus in the form of tax cuts and potential infrastructure spending down the road. What if we are just now returning to a normal business cycle?

People, investors, have been citing that we seem like we're in the sixth, seventh, eighth inning of the cycle but they've been saying that for four or five years now. But we believe that this domestic expansion can continue. Leading indicators are in an upward trend and hard economic data for the United States have remained robust. But the important point here is that valuations in the markets are full. As Rob Lee noted earlier, risk valuations reflect the current environment, and the important question is, can we have even better performance in the years ahead because of robust domestic fundamentals and a strong equity market?

VO: Yuoh outlined the challenges of managing fixed-income portfolios given diverging trends in global economies:

Yuoh: So when we think about the diverging trends in the global economy, I there are a few things you can certainly look at outside the United States. Of note lately, you would look at the emerging markets weakness that has pervaded the markets over the last three months, you look at trade policy which has been so disruptive to markets with its constant headlines, and of course, you look at China, which has been slowing down gradually over the course of 2018 as well. So you have all of this global uncertainty, but inside the United States, within the U.S., the consumer, which is such a large part of the economy, continues to show significant strength. If you look at consumer confidence, retail sales, all of these consumer-related indicators continue to do very well.

And so again, as investors, when we look at risk assets, we ask, how will risk assets perform, or how can they perform, in an environment where you have a bifurcation of the U.S. economy and the rest of the world, and can valuations do better from here in that environment? I think that's a question that we have to answer to position our portfolios correctly. If you look at current valuations, it's already reflected some of that. High-yield debt is doing well, investment-grade corporates have weakened, and that shift has been pretty dramatic. But if you look at commercial mortgage-backed securities, which is mainly focused on domestic commercial real estate, and asset-backed securities, which focuses on the U.S. consumer, they've done very well this year. And so paying attention to that, and thinking about the scenarios where those relationships will change over the coming months, will be very important.

VO: That's it for this edition of The Investment Conversation. As always, you can access a full range of investment commentary and analysis at lordabbett.com. Thanks for listening.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Investing involves risk, including the loss of principal. The value of investments in fixed-income securities will change as interest rates fluctuate and in response to market movements. Generally, when interest rates rise, the prices of debt securities fall, and when interest rates fall, prices generally rise. The municipal market can be affected by adverse tax, legislative, or political changes, and by the financial condition of the issuers of municipal securities. Investments in foreign or emerging market securities, which may be adversely affected by economic, political, or regulatory factors and subject to currency volatility and greater liquidity risk. The value of investments in equity securities will fluctuate in response to general economic conditions and to changes in the prospects of particular companies and/or sectors in the economy.

No investing strategy can overcome all market volatility or guarantee future results.

Market forecasts and projections are based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. Projections should not be considered a guarantee.

The views and opinions expressed by the Lord Abbett speaker are those of the speaker as of the date of the broadcast, and do not necessarily represent the views of the firm as a whole. Any such views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions and Lord Abbett disclaims any responsibility to update such views. This material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice. It is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities, or to adopt any investment strategy. Neither Lord Abbett nor the Lord Abbett speaker can be responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered.

The information provided is not directed at any investor or category of investors and is provided solely as general information about Lord Abbett's products and services and to otherwise provide general investment education. None of the information provided should be regarded as a suggestion to engage in or refrain from any investment-related course of action as neither Lord Abbett nor its affiliates are undertaking to provide impartial investment advice, act as an impartial adviser, or give advice in a fiduciary capacity. If you are an individual retirement investor, contact your financial advisor or other fiduciary about whether any given investment idea, strategy, product or service may be appropriate for your circumstances.

This broadcast is the copyright© 2018 of Lord, Abbett & Co. LLC. All Rights Reserved. This recording may not be reproduced in whole or in part or any form without the permission of Lord Abbett. Lord Abbett mutual funds are distributed by Lord Abbett Distributor LLC.

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