Even though inflation continues to force the Fed’s hand on tightening, money managers are starting to rebuild their exposures toward Treasuries, with the hope that the highest payouts in years will help cushion portfolios from the damage inflicted by additional rate hikes. For instance, Morgan Stanley believes that a multi-asset income fund can find some of the best opportunities in decades in dollar-denominated securities such as inflation-linked debt and high-grade corporate obligations. That’s because interest payments on 10-year Treasuries have hit 4.125%, the highest since the financial crisis. In addition, PIMCO estimates that long-dated securities, which have been hit hard due to the Fed’s hawkishness, will bounce back if a recession should occur. They believe that a recession would ignite the bond-safety trade, where government debt would act as a hedge in the much-maligned 60/40 portfolio. Essentially, higher income and lower duration are helping to make the case that bonds will have a much better 2022. While inflation and liquidity concerns remain, the median in a recent Bloomberg survey shows “dealers, strategists and economists project bond prices will rise modestly in tandem with cooling inflation, with the 10-year US note trading at 3.5% by end of next year.”

Finsum:A combination of higher income payments and lower duration has money managers becoming more bullish on treasuries.

According to Bloomberg data, the iShares iBoxx $Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD) saw $3 billion in outflows on Monday, its largest one-day outflow since the fund’s inception twenty years ago. The exodus was quite the reversal for LCD as the ETF saw six straight weeks of inflows. The fund was up 9% between October 20th and Friday, with investors pouring money back into credit with the hope that the Fed might slow down the pace of rate hikes. However, those hopes fell as St Louis Fed President James Bullard warned that “markets are underpricing the risk that the central bank will have to be more aggressive rather than less aggressive.” In response, LQD dropped 0.7% on Monday, its worst performance in over a month. As of Monday’s close, the ETF was down 19% for the year, its biggest loss ever. Peter Chatwell, head of global macro strategies trading at Mizuho International told Business Insider that “The fund’s recent rebound likely exacerbated the withdrawals as year-end approaches. Clearly, at this time of year, some money gets taken out of the market, particularly if performance has recently been strong, which with LQD it has.”

Finsum:LQD saw its largest one-day outflow ever as St Louis Fed President James Bullard warned that the Fed will need to become more aggressive, not less aggressive.

According to fund managers, investors are pouring money back into U.S. corporate credit due to a combination of higher yields and attractive valuations. Salim Ramji, global head of exchange-traded funds and index investments at BlackRock told the Reuters Global Markets Forum, "We are at the beginning of a rotation as investors come back into credit. With the rapid move in front-end rates, the curve has repriced credit to attractive levels." This has benefited fixed-income ETFs such as the iShares iBoxx Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD) and the iShares High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG), which are on track for quarterly gains in the fourth quarter after falling 20% and 14% respectively this year. Jim Leaviss, chief investment officer for public fixed income at M&G Investments added "We don't know exactly when the peak in inflation will be, but I think that's not a million miles away. If we're at this turning point then the entry-level you get by buying investment-grade credit in the (United) States looks really attractive." Ramji also said that “The jump in bond yields has also made corporate credit more attractive to investors looking for income after years of low-interest rates.”

Finsum:A combination of attractive valuations and higher yields has made U.S. corporate credit ETFs more enticing for investors. 

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