As the investment sector transcends into January, it was virtually accepted that this year would be a disastrous one for owing bond funds or bonds. As investing cycle begins from February, things are poised to take a different turn altogether. Suddenly, bonds have become the hot destination in this juncture. Experts are vouching for this part. Apprehensions of a bond bubble or fiscal maze, or concisely, a collapse that was anticipated to happen instantly after interest rates began to soar, have dissipated or vanished. Investors, who were once instructed to give up their bond funds, are now asked to go back for more. Such is money and such is the financial panorama.
In a slow-paced turf of bonds, this might be the fastest reversal ever. For fund investors who kept speculating about the feasibility of diversification due to predominance of domestic stocks, it is certainly a strong reminder that percolating money into different asset segments makes ample sense than chasing an illusion or utopia. The ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ disposition of the market is immaterial in this regard. It is clear that investors thought that rates would keep soaring. The 10-yeard Treasury had been generating 3% till January, but depreciated to 2.7% last week.
Investors were eagerly anticipating the Federal Reserve’s supply from quantitative easing to effectuate a great impact here. If it was procuring fewer bonds, it would certainly nudge the rates forward. In the wake of this mechanism, bond prices would be affected and bond-fund investors were not eager to bit the dust. The counterpoint suggested that if the Fed has fewer bonds, it could put breaks on global economy, which would generate pressure to reduce the rates. When it started reducing bond purchases, there was sell-off in forthcoming markets, which lowered commodity prices. Global economy was reveling since the Fed had been filling up the trays. But, now they were taking them away, says Kathy Jones, a fixed-income analyst. She said that while transient bonds do not suffice for the risk and long-term ones are still volatile or precarious, intermediate bonds, whose tenure is 3-5 years, are pretty feasible. This is especially applicable to investment-level corporate bonds alongside municipals.
With experts changing their viewpoint now, the erstwhile thought of dodging bonds has come under the scanner. The idea is fun, but is potentially counter-productive to blame financial pundits for miscalculation or misappropriation. Since 2008, most financial buffs have reported that clients carry oversized bonds. Fund-flow parameters reveal bond inflows remain overweighed as investors seek protection from an incongruous stock market and look for safe havens. These happen even as the stock market changed its course and took a tedious run. By the end of last year, investor sentiment pertaining to stocks got to alarming levels and cash sneaked out of bond funds. Investors could capitalize on equities, and deserted bonds at the wrong time. So, now that bonds are no more a dragnet, it remains to be seen what investors do.