David Hernandez, CFA
This week’s chart depicts the challenging environment core fixed income investors faced in 2013. The ten-year Treasury rate jumped causing significant price depreciation while the coupons failed to cover the losses. The Barclays Agg index declined 2.0% in 2013, the first negative calendar year return since 1999. This performance was made up of a -4.6% price return and a 2.6% coupon return.
Facing the prospects of low income and prices losses, many investors transitioned away from traditional core bonds in favor of higher yields and/or lower interest rate risk. It should be noted that this allocation change generally accompanies an increase in credit risk as there is no free lunch. While the bull market in fixed income is likely over and return expectations have been lowered, traditional bonds still serve an important role as an anchor to diversified portfolios, providing a steady source of income and principal repayment to investors.
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