Reassessing Risk—and Opportunity—in Short-Duration Fixed Income
A Note about Risk: 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. Bonds may also be subject to other types of risk, such as call, credit, liquidity, interest-rate, and general market risks. High-yield securities, sometimes called junk bonds, carry increased risks of price volatility, illiquidity, and the possibility of default in the timely payment of interest and principal. Moreover, the specific collateral used to secure a loan may decline in value or become illiquid, which would adversely affect the loan’s value. 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. Lower-rated bonds may be subject to greater risk than higher-rated bonds. No investing strategy can overcome all market volatility or guarantee future results. Statements concerning financial market trends are based on current market conditions, which will fluctuate. There is no guarantee that markets will perform in a similar manner under similar conditions in the future.
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. Although U.S. government securities are guaranteed as to payments of interest and principal, their market prices are not guaranteed and will fluctuate in response to market movements.
This article may contain assumptions that are “forward-looking statements,” which are based on certain assumptions of future events. Actual events are difficult to predict and may differ from those assumed. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will materialize or that actual returns or results will not be materially different from those described here.
A basis point is one one-hundredth of a percentage point.
Duration is the change in the value of a fixed-income security that will result from a 1% change in market interest rates. Generally, the larger a portfolio’s duration, the greater the interest-rate risk or reward for underlying bond prices.
A bond yield is the amount of return an investor will realize on a bond. Though several types of bond yields can be calculated, nominal yield is the most common. This is calculated by dividing the amount of interest paid by the face value.
The BofA Merrill Lynch 0-3 Year U.S. Asset Backed Securities Index is a subset of the BofA Merrill Lynch U.S. Asset Backed Securities Index including all securities with an average life less than 3 years.
The BofA Merrill Lynch BBB-Rated 1-3 Year U.S. Corporate Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. dollar-denominated investment-grade corporate debt securities publicly issued in the U.S. domestic market with between one and three years remaining to final maturity.
The BofA Merrill Lynch Government Master Index is a market capitalization-weighted index including all U.S. Treasury notes and bonds, with maturities greater than or equal to one year and less than 10 years and a minimum outstanding of $1 billion.
The Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Year Asset-Backed Securities Index is a maturity-specific component of the Bloomberg Barclays Asset-Backed Securities (ABS) Index, the ABS component of the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index.
The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index represents securities that are SEC-registered, taxable, and dollar denominated. The Index covers the U.S. investment-grade fixed-rate bond market, with index components for government and corporate securities, mortgage pass-through securities, and asset-backed securities. Total return comprises price appreciation/depreciation and income as a percentage of the original investment.
The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. 1-3 Year Government Bond Index is an unmanaged index that includes U.S. government Treasury and agency securities with maturities of 1 to 3 years.
The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. 1-3.5 Year CMBS Investment Grade Index measures the market of conduit and fusion CMBS deals with a minimum current deal size of $300 million. The index includes bonds that are ERISA eligible under the underwriter's exemption.
The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. 1-3 Year High Yield Bond Index is the 3 Year (1-2.9999) component of the Barclays U.S. High Yield Bond Index. The Barclays U.S. High Yield Bond Index covers the universe of fixed rate, non-investment grade debt. Original issue zeroes, step-up coupon structures, 144-As and pay-in-kind bonds (PIKs, as of October 1, 2009) are included.
The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. High Yield Index covers the universe of fixed rate, non-investment grade debt. Eurobonds and debt issues from countries designated as emerging markets (sovereign rating of Baa1/BBB+/BBB+ and below using the middle of Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch) are excluded, but Canadian and global bonds (SEC registered) of issuers in non-EMG countries are included. Original issue zeroes, step-up coupon structures, 144-As and pay-in-kind bonds (PIKs, as of October 1, 2009) are also included.
Indexes are unmanaged, do not reflect the deduction of fees or expenses, and are not available for direct investment.
The credit quality of the securities in a portfolio is assigned by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (NRSRO) such as Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, or Fitch, as an indication of an issuer’s creditworthiness. Ratings range from ‘AAA’ (highest) to ‘D’ (lowest). Bonds rated ‘BBB’ or above are considered investment grade. Credit ratings ‘BB’ and below are lower-rated securities. High yielding, non-investment-grade bonds involve higher risks than investment-grade bonds. Adverse conditions may affect the issuer’s ability to pay interest and principal on these securities.
The opinions in the preceding commentary are as of the date of publication and subject to change based on subsequent developments and may not reflect the views of the firm as a whole. This material is not intended to be legal or tax advice and is not to be relied upon as a forecast, or research or investment advice regarding a particular investment or the markets in general, nor is it intended to predict or depict performance of any investment. Investors should not assume that investments in the securities and/or sectors described were or will be profitable. This document is prepared based on information Lord Abbett deems reliable; however, Lord Abbett does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information. Investors should consult with a financial advisor prior to making an investment decision.