November 2019: Fixed Income Market Review
Capital markets flows favored the bolder (i.e., riskier) asset classes in November as trade optimism manifested in more concrete ways and equity investors found silver lining in some economic data points in the US and Europe; global sovereign bonds sold off, while spread-sectors continued to rise. The Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index shed 76 basis points, with ex-US issues faring worse (-1.36%) than a US Aggregate market down just 5 basis points.
Against a backdrop of easing trade tensions, modest upward revision of 3Q GDP growth and a slight pickup in domestic manufacturing data, Federal Reserve Chair Powell characterized current monetary policy as “likely to remain appropriate,” leading bond markets to reprice based on expectations of just one additional cut, in 2020. Consistent with the prior month Treasury yields crept higher, while riskier corporates were up, +19 basis points for the just-above-junk BBB segment, +33 basis points for US corporate high yield and +75 basis points for leveraged loans. Investment-grade floating rate was positive, roughly matching the +25 basis point return for municipal bonds. US securitized sectors (roughly a quarter of the aggregate index) were flat to modestly positive, providing core-bond investors with a further buffer to Treasury runoff. The US 30-Year yield moved up only marginally during the month but the corresponding index, which led the S&P 500 year-to-date headed into 4Q, has given back 4.54% over the trailing 90-day period.
During the month the US 10-year yield advanced slightly but – unlike the prior month – so too did yields on the shorter end, resulting in a net-unchanged 10 year – 2 year spread. Edged in October into “normal position” as measured by the 10s2s, the yield curve shifted up slightly but flattened overall. TIPS were the lone positive performer among US Treasury segments.
Developed ex-US sovereigns slipped (roughly 52 basis points, with the Eurozone down 1.98%) as equity markets rallied, the Bank of England left policy unchanged and newly minted European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde declined to commit in her first official speeches to any specific next steps (i.e., further easing) in monetary policy.
Emerging market sovereigns saw yields rise but – despite a strengthening dollar – the segment outperformed, shedding just 20 basis points as investors sold out of negative-yielding sovereign sectors. As with the prior month, currencies saw mixed results; led by China export-heavy developing Asian economies saw their currencies buoyed by positive direction on trade, while Latin American currencies (Chile, in particular) remained hard-hit by inflation expectations and political concerns.
Notes & Disclosures
Index Returns – all shown in US dollars
All returns shown trailing 11/30/2019 for the period indicated. “YTD” refers to the total return as of prior-year end, while the other returns are annualized. 3-month and annualized returns are shown for:
- The Barclay’s US Aggregate Index, a broad based unmanaged bond index that is generally considered to be representative of the performance of the investment grade, US dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market.
- The ICE BofAML Emerging Markets Sovereign Bond Index is a subset of The BofA Merrill Lynch World Sovereign Bond Index excluding all securities with a country of risk that is a member of the FX G10, all Western European countries, and territories of the U.S. and Western European countries. The FX G10 includes all Euro members, the U.S., Japan, the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Norway, and Sweden.
- The Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index, which measures global investment grade debt from twenty-four local currency markets. This multi-currency benchmark includes treasury, government-related, corporate and securitized fixed-rate bonds from both developed and emerging markets issuers.
- The S&P Global Developed Sovereign Bond index includes local-currency denominated debt publicly issued by governments in their domestic markets.
- S&P Eurozone Developed Sovereign Bond – seeks to measure the performance of Eurozone government bonds.
- The S&P Pan-Europe Developed Sovereign Bond Index is a comprehensive, market-value-weighted index designed to track the performance of local currency-denominated securities publicly issued by Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and developed countries in the Eurozone for their domestic markets.
- ICE BofAML Emerging Markets Sovereign Bond – tracks the performance of US dollar (USD) and Euro denominated emerging markets non-sovereign debt publicly issued within the major domestic and Eurobond markets.
- The Bloomberg Barclay’s US Corporate Bond Index (AA), which measures the investment grade, fixed-rate, taxable corporate bond market. It includes USD denominated securities publicly issued by US and non-US industrial, utility and financial issuers.
- The Bloomberg Barclay’s US Corporate High Yield Index, which covers the USD-denominated, non-investment grade, fixed-rate, taxable corporate bond market.
- Bloomberg Barclay’s Global Aggregate Securitized- US Mortgage-Backed Securities, which is a component of the Bloomberg Barclay’s US Aggregate Index and measures investment grade mortgage backed pass-through securities of GNMA, FNMA, and FHLMC.
- Bloomberg Barclay’s Global Aggregate Securitized- US Asset-Backed Securities, which is a component of the Bloomberg Barclay’s US Aggregate Index and includes the pass-throughs, bullets, and controlled amortization structures of only the senior class of ABS issues.
- The Blomberg Barclay’s US Floating Rate Notes (<5 Yr) Index, measures the performance of U.S dollar-dominated, investment grade floating rate notes with maturities less than 5 years.
- The Bloomberg Barclay’s Municipal Bond Index, which measures investment grade, tax-exempt bonds with a maturity of at least one year.
- The S&P/ LSTA Leveraged Loan Index is designed to reflect the performance of the largest facilities in the leveraged loan market.
Key Rates are shown for US Treasurys and London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), the interest rate at which banks offer to lend funds (wholesale money) to one another in the international interbank market. LIBOR is a key benchmark rate that reflects how much it costs banks to borrow from each other. “Current” refers to the percentage rate as of 6/30/2018, while the rates of change are stated in basis points.
Credit Spreads shown comprise the Option-Adjusted Spread of the indices indicated, versus the US 10-Year Treasury Yield. “Current” refers to the spread as of 6/30/2018, while the rates of change are stated in basis points.
Key Indicators correspond to various macro-economic and rate-related data points that we consider impactful to fixed income markets.
- 2s10s (bps)/ 10 Yr vs 2 Yr Treasury Spread, which measures the difference between yields on 10-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Securities and 2-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Securities.
- West Texas Intermediate, which is an oil benchmark and the underlying asset in the New York Mercantile Exchange’s oil futures contract.
- Core Consumer Price Index, which measures the consumer price index excluding food and energy prices. Shown as of the prior month-end.
- Breakeven Inflation: 5 Yr %/ bps, which uses a moving 30-day average of the 5-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Securities and 5-Year Treasury Inflation–Indexed Constant Maturity Securities to derive expected inflation.
- Breakeven Inflation: 10 Yr %/ bps, which uses a moving 30-day average of the 10-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Securities and 10-Year Treasury Inflation–Indexed Constant Maturity Securities to derive expected inflation.
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This material is proprietary and being provided on a confidential basis, and may not be reproduced, transferred or distributed in any form without prior written permission from WST. WST reserves the right at any time and without notice to change, amend, or cease publication of the information. This material has been prepared solely for informative purposes. The information contained herein includes information that has been obtained from third party sources and has not been independently verified. It is made available on an “as is” basis without warranty and does not represent the performance of any specific investment .Some of the information enclosed may represent opinions of WST and are subject to change from time to time and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular investment strategy. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed for accuracy. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Securities and services are not FDIC or any other government agency insured – Are not bank guaranteed – May lose Value.
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