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Fixed-Income Insights

video

Lord Abbett Partner Rob Lee talks about the key trends in fixed income—and how his team has positioned the portfolio in the current market.

Transcript

Narrator: This is Lord Abbett's Portfolio Commentary.

Mike Weldon: This is Mike Weldon, Partner and Director of Marketing at Lord Abbett. Joining me today is Rob Lee, Partner and Director of Taxable Fixed Income. Rob, welcome, let's jump right in and talk about the short duration portfolio and how we're positioned today.

Rob Lee: Sure, so I would say one of the things that's characterized the last few months in the bond market is pretty low volatility. Along with that, you would imagine we haven't made dramatic shifts in the portfolio. The portfolio is positioned in a diversified way—high-grade corporate bonds, a smaller percentage of high yield corporate bonds, commercial mortgage backed securities, asset backed securities, and some government related securities. So, well diversified, short maturity, short duration instruments, it hasn't changed a tremendous amount the last couple of months.

Mike Weldon: So Rob, I want to go a little bit deeper into the portfolio makeup. You talked about high yield. A lot of people are looking at high yield spreads, they've compressed, and they're saying, is there still good value in high yields? So can you give, maybe, a little more color around the high yield portion?

Rob Lee: Sure, so first I would say, it is true that high yield spreads to treasuries are tighter than they have been on average, historically. But I think those tighter spreads are reflecting pretty good corporate credit fundamentals. So, corporate profitability is high, corporate cash levels are high, corporations have pushed out their maturity walls because they've been able to issue debt at low yields. All of those things, and more, are good for corporate credit in general.

It's also important to remember that for our portfolio, the types of high yield bonds that we're buying are shorter maturity. They are, in many cases, yield-to-call paper where it is very likely that in the next year or so, these bonds will get called. So it's not five or seven or ten year paper for the most part, it's a lot of yield-to-call paper.

Mike Weldon: So moving into the macro outlook, the big question is, what's going to happen with the fed, what’s the outlook for interest rates? What are your thoughts there?

Rob Lee: Sure, so as the economy continues to improve and unemployment, the labor markets get better, and perhaps as inflation rises a little bit, then it is right to think about fed exit, or fed removal of some of the accommodation and stimulants. And I think we're getting closer to that point. But I'd make a couple of comments.

Number one, as long as inflation doesn't get out of hand and really spike up, the fed has the room to go slow in the exit. I think that's exactly what Janet Yellen is all about. She tends to be dovish, in my opinion, and as such, is unlikely to raise the fed funds rate dramatically. So while people are worried about rising rates, and we are always watching, too, of course, I wouldn't be overly worried as long as inflation stays contained, which I expect it to.

The other thing I would say is with a short duration portfolio or short duration bonds in general, a moderate rise in increase in yields over some period of time, doesn't necessarily lead to very bad returns. So if it happens gradually, which I expect it to, given the fed's actions and makeup, I don't think you should be overly worried about short-duration bonds. Their sensitivity to rising interest rates is pretty modest.

Mike Weldon: Okay, thanks very much, Rob. This has been Lord Abbett’s Portfolio Commentary, thanks for watching.

Narrator: For more information on this topic, or to access other videos, audio files, articles, or commentary, please explore Lordabbett.com.

The Fund is subject to the general risks and considerations associated with investing in debt securities. The value of an investment will change as interest rates fluctuate and in response to market movements. When interest rates fall, the prices of debt securities tend to rise, and when interest rates rise, the prices of debt securities are likely to decline. Debt securities are subject to credit risk, which is the risk that the issuer will fail to make timely payments of interest and principal to the Fund. The Fund may invest in lower-rated debt securities, sometimes called junk bonds and may involve greater risks than higher rated debt securities. These securities carry increased risks of price volatility, illiquidity, and the possibility of default in the timely payment of interest and principal. Foreign investments in which the Fund may invest present increased market, liquidity, currency, political, information, and other risks.

Additional Risks to Consider:
Lower-rated debt securities may involve greater risks than higher rated debt securities. Longer-term debt securities are usually more sensitive to interest rate changes, the longer the maturity of a security, the greater the effect a change in interest rates is likely to have on its price. Mortgage-backed securities may be subject to prepayment risk. High-yield securities carry increased risks of price volatility, illiquidity, and the possibility of default in the timely payment of interest and principal. No investing strategy can overcome all market volatility or guarantee future results.

Treasuries are debt securities issued by the U.S. government and secured by its full faith and credit. Income from Treasury securities is exempt from state and local taxes. Diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. The portfolio is actively managed and may change significantly over time.

Glossary

Duration: A measure of the sensitivity of the price (the value of principal) of a fixed-income investment to a change in interest rates. Duration is expressed as a number of years.

Asset-backed Security (ABS) is a financial security backed by a loan, lease or receivables against assets other than real estate and mortgage-backed securities. For investors, asset-backed securities are an alternative to investing in corporate debt.

Commercial Mortgage Backed Security (CMBS) is a type of mortgage-backed security that is secured by the loan on a commercial property. A CMBS can provide liquidity to real estate investors and to commercial lenders. As with other types of MBS, the increased use of CMBS can be attributable to the rapid rise in real estate prices over the years.

High Yield Bond Spread is the percentage difference in current yields of various classes of high-yield bonds (often junk bonds) compared against investment-grade corporate bonds, Treasury bonds or another benchmark bond measure. Spreads are often expressed as a difference in percentage points or basis points (which equal one-one hundredth of a percentage point).

Yield To Call is the yield of a bond or note if you were to buy and hold the security until the call date. This yield is valid only if the security is called prior to maturity. The calculation of yield to call is based on the coupon rate, the length of time to the call date and the market price.

This broadcast serves as reference material for information purposes only; does not constitute an offer to acquire, solicitation for an offer to acquire, an offer to sell or solicitation for an offer to buy, any securities, nor is intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research, or investment advice on any securities, and cannot be used for any of the foregoing.

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. 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 value of investments and any income from them is not guaranteed and may fall as well as rise, and an investor may not get back the amount originally invested. Please consult your investment professional for additional information concerning your specific situation. This broadcast is the copyright © 2014 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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The Investment Conversation

 

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Our new blog features timely commentary and analysis from Lord Abbett experts. Join the conversation.

RELATED FUND
The Fund seeks to deliver a high level of current income consistent with the preservation of capital by investing primarily in a variety of short duration investment grade and high yield debt securities, U.S. government securities, and mortgage- and other asset-backed debt securities.

OFFSHORE FUNDS for NON-U.S. INVESTORS

A suite of funds designed to provide access to select Lord Abbett fixed income investment strategies.

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