Are Bonds Approaching Moderate Value?

November 29, 2018

This week’s chart looks at how bonds have fared during the global volatility of the last two months. In summary, bonds have retrenched a bit but have protected principal overall as expected and served as good diversifiers to other asset classes such as equities and alternatives. Spreads have widened moderately and are now showing some value across the board.

The four sections of the chart show the spread versus the average for core bonds, bank loans, high yield bonds and emerging markets debt. The timeframes are from the end of 2008 to today, but the averages are based on the last 20 years excluding 2008 and 2009 as outliers. As we can see, each of the spreads are rising and approaching averages. They are no longer near post-2008 tights anymore. This signifies that there may perhaps be some moderate value in fixed income today.

The fundamentals and the global macro backdrop support a moderate outlook. U.S. and European high yield and leveraged loan default rates remain low. Leverage, coverage, issuance and outstanding amounts do not point to a frothy market. Aggressive issuance is experiencing a shift away from high yield and into bank loans but remains modest overall. As the effect of Trump’s tax cuts continues to be felt through strong corporate earnings and the global tariff escalation continues to evolve, the Federal Reserve has enough optimism about the economy to warrant its continued pace of rate hikes. Collectively, these trends suggest stable if not improving valuation, fundamental and macro factors as we approach the New Year.

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The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

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