Jennifer Ablan and Sam Forgione at Reuters explain why Dan Fuss, vice chairman and portfolio manager at Loomis Sayles, which oversees $182 billion in assets, is slashing exposure to high-yield bonds:
Fuss and others worry the Fed’s easy money policy – short-term interest rates held at effectively zero and a bond-buying program known as quantitative easing – will soon foster inflation, a bond manager’s biggest fear. That would drive up interest rates, so bond prices, which move in the opposite direction to rates, would fall.
Read more at Analysis: Bond managers fret junk bond rally is losing steam | Reuters.
David Merkel observes that Shiller’s CAPE10 ratio and Tobin’s Q-ratio both “indicate that stocks are not likely to return a lot over the next 10 years”.
The CAPE10 ratio is a long-term, smoothed PE-ratio first popularized by Yale Professor Robert Shiller in his book Irrational Exuberance. CAPE10 compares the current S&P 500 index value to the average of the last 10-years annual earnings. James Tobin’s Q-ratio compares current price to net worth (total company assets minus liabilities).
Merkel points out, however, that “the same is true of most high-quality bond investments …. and high-yield investments when expected losses are netted out…..I am not crazy about buying bonds here. The risk-reward is awkward, but the same is true of stocks.”
Bottom line is investors are being starved of yield by the Fed’s Twist and QE3 operations. Investors may be forced to take on additional risk in order to boost yields, but that could end in disaster, with capital losses if yields rise or earnings fall. Where possible, the safest strategy would be to tighten your belt and sit this out.
via On Investment Time Horizons – Seeking Alpha.