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With zero yields, the advantages of bonds over cash are gone

When investors buy or sell financial assets they try to analyse likely outcomes. This basically revolves around three main issues.

  1. What is the capital upside?
  1. What is the capital downside?
  1. What income is earned from the security?

The dramatic fall in bond yields means that this traditional approach to investing will have to be examined.

One way to do this is to model real world outcomes. …

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Why do people buy negative yielding bonds?

Guest contributor – Craig Moran (Fund Manager, M&G Multi-Asset Team)

The following blog was first posted on M&G’s Multi-Asset Team Blog, M&G’s Equities Team also regularly post their views at

These are extraordinary times in financial markets. On a daily basis we are being bombarded with news headlines of political turmoil, market gyrations, forecasts…

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The best and worst performing fixed income asset classes of 2015

The best and worst performing fixed income asset classes of 2015

Looking back over the past year it’s evident that decent returns were much more difficult to achieve than in 2014. Within my sample of 85 different Bank of America Merrill Lynch bond indices (and as you can see from the smaller sample in the chart below) most indices fell within the -5% to 5% total return range for 2015, whereas most fell within the 5% to 15% range in 2014.

In 2014 though, mos…

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Why seasonality in consumer prices matters for bond markets

Guest contributor – Jean-Paul Jaegers CFA (Senior Investment Strategist, Prudential Portfolio Management Group)

One asset class where seasonality matters hugely is inflation linked fixed income. This makes a lot of sense, as inflation is the underlying macro variable, and inflation by its nature is very seasonal. For example, post Halloween sales or Holiday packages tend to happen in regular pe…

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Yield without commodity risk – 4 ways you can have your cake and eat it in the US High Yield market

Following another sell off, the US high yield market has once again touched the psychologically important 8% yield level today. This is an important valuation signal that has helped to tempt investors back into the market in recent months. However, the last move up in yields has been driven in part by a renewed downdraft in commodity prices, not least with WTI pricing in the low $40’s. Energy i…

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EUR IG non-financial bond issuance in 2015

The Yanks are coming: US firms are rushing to the EUR corporate bond market

Reverse Yankees, i.e., bonds issued by US entities in currencies other than USD, have become an integral part of the global investment grade (IG) corporate bond universe, particularly in the European IG space. For treasurers of US companies the issuance of EUR-denominated Reverse Yankees offers several advantages:

  1. In case a US firm reporting its results in USD has operations within the Eurozon…

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High yield floating rate note case study – an oasis of calm within the desiccated desert of duration

We’ve seen a swift and rapid re-pricing of the bund curve in recent weeks, highlighting again the risk to capital that bond investors face when yields start to rise. All major bond markets in Europe have been impacted to some degree. Nevertheless one corner of the bond market has remained very resilient: floating rate notes.

We have highlighted before how these instruments have some potentially…

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The downside of bonds

Government bond yields are extremely low across the globe. The highly unusual phenomenon of negative bond yields – even on debt issued by countries that still face a debt crisis – is now commonplace. In addition, investors are looking to protect themselves from the carnage in bond markets we have seen in recent weeks  (for example, the “risk-free” German 2.5% 2046 bond is down -19% since the hi…

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Demurrage – a tale of gold, cash and mercenaries

Historically I’ve struggled with the concept of gold as an investment. Presumably if you bought gold for this purpose you would want to store it somewhere safe and insure it. However, investors in gold should account for the fact that there is a cost to sleeping well at night. Vaults and insurance don’t come for free, and that cost can be thought of as a negative yield or the demurrage of gold….

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Long US Treasury bonds are overvalued by 250 bps. Discuss.

As we started 2014 the US Treasury market was expecting 10 year yields to be at 4.13% in a decade’s time. This 10 year 10 year forward yield, derived from the yield curve, is a good measure of where the bond market believes yields get to if you “look through the cycle”, and disregard short term economic trends and noise. I wrote about it here and suggested that we were approaching the top of th…

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