Value Returns To Fixed Income Markets (2024)

Value Returns To Fixed Income Markets (1)


Kim Stafford: Hello, I'm Kim Stafford and I'm here again with PIMCO Group CIO Dan Ivascyn to give you an inside look at some of the recent discussions taking place within PIMCO's Investment Committee or IC. Dan, thanks for joining us.

Dan Ivascyn: Thanks, Kim.

Kim Stafford: Before we get started, it’s the holiday season, happy holidays to you and your family and happy holidays to all of our clients. Thank you so much for your partnership. We really appreciate it.

Dan, interest rates have endured a period of long lasting volatility in 2023, even as we've begun to see signs of stabilizing in recent weeks. What factors have driven this volatility and what sorts of conditions might be needed in order for us to see more long lasting stability in 2024?

Dan Ivascyn: So I think the driver of this volatility is still this tug of war between slowing growth, at least in key parts of the world, and inflation remaining above central bank targets. And the resulting uncertainty both from a policy perspective as well as how the fundamental data may look. Drop on top of that, a little bit of geopolitical uncertainty and a highly uncertain election cycle right around the corner, we think is going to lead to continued uncertainty.

Volatility will probably be higher than it has been historically, but we do think and are a bit more constructive about inflation heading back towards central bank targets. Policymakers on hold perhaps for an extended period of time, but with the bulk of the tightening over, that should lead to a better, more constructive investment environment.

And last but not least, of course, this great value back in the market, particularly on the fixed income side. Higher yields, higher inflation adjusted yields provide some inherent cushion. So we do think investors can expect a more resilient return profile from fixed income and we're excited about that.

Kim Stafford: One question that investors are wondering are why not just sit in cash? Why should investors invest in bonds versus cash today?

Dan Ivascyn: Yeah, that's a tough one. Cash has been kind to investors and it's been rough to be in more interest rate sensitive assets. Probably the best example I can come up with has been the performance of the bond market over the last few weeks. Very, very quickly, and really based on just a little bit of economic weakness in the data, we've seen long bonds generate total returns of 10% or so, even intermediate bond type funds over the last month have generated positive returns of 3, 4% or even greater in some instances.

Just a reminder that with cash you are able to lock in these high yields on an overnight basis, but there's no guarantee on how long you'll be able to achieve those yields. In an environment like this one, with inflation gradually heading back towards central bank targets, 2024 may be about rate cuts and the ability to generate not only very, very attractive yields in longer maturity investments, but also the prospect for price appreciation.

One of the favorite areas of the yield curve that we like is somewhere in that 3 to 5 year range. You're not locking in bond yields for 10, 20, 30 years. You're just extending out the curve, being able to achieve and the high quality bonds yields of 6, 7, 8% or even greater in some instances. And we think that's a nice balance between the safety and at least predictability overnight of a cash yield with being able to lock in yields for an extended period of time.

Kim Stafford: Great. So let's get to opportunities, how we’re approaching opportunities across public and private markets. How would we deploy the next investable dollar in public fixed income and in private markets?

Dan Ivascyn: So what you're seeing is that the public markets have repriced and repriced quite significantly. You can focus on areas of the market with very, very strong fundamentals and generate very, very attractive returns, both absolute and relative to less liquid alternatives. The private markets, though, are going through a significant adjustment period, private debt originated or deals done in that late 2020, '21, early '22 period under considerable strain and stress.

It's mostly a floating rate market, at least on the debt side, borrowers are susceptible to very, very high central bank policy rates that are likely going to stay higher than some investors anticipate.

So there are going to be challenges in that space and it's going to be a great opportunity for private capital to exploit opportunities with the banks used to satisfy that demand for lending and take advantage of a series of restructuring activity both in commercial real estate, in the private corporate credit markets.

Then an area we like a lot is specialty finance. That's true both on the public and the private side. That's a segment of the market benefiting from a strong consumer. It's benefiting from the post global financial crisis regulation that hasn't impacted non-financial corporate direct lending and why we think there's a little bit of froth in that space.

We still think that it makes sense to source inflation protection in markets if you're doing it in the fixed income market. Good old fashioned U.S. Treasury inflation protected securities look attractive here. Very, very high. Real yields, relatively low break even inflation rates.

We think investors probably own too little commodity exposure across portfolios. We think that's a very, very attractive area of the markets as well. Probably our favorite trade at the moment, agency mortgage-backed securities. They're very, very high quality asset trading at very, very wide spreads versus corporate bonds versus treasuries. That's an area of the market that we think makes sense to overweight across a variety of strategies.

We think the risk of a recession next year is somewhere around 50%. But we think the market's more optimistic. So consistent with an upward quality theme, we have significant overweights to very, very high quality structured products, in many cases triple-A rated structured product and in up in quality bias across investment.

So bottom line, get excited about today's public opportunities. Be prepared for steady, incredibly attractive opportunities within the private space.

Volatility could be higher than what we've grown accustomed to. And that's a great environment for active asset management, for active asset allocation decisions. We're here to help our clients in those areas, but we're pretty excited about the prospects for returns into 2024 and haven't been this excited in several years.

Kim Stafford: All right. Well, thank you very much, Dan, and thanks to all of you for joining us. Happy holidays and we'll see you next time.


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PIMCO is a global leader in active fixed income. With our launch in 1971 in Newport Beach, California, PIMCO introduced investors to a total return approach to fixed income investing. In the 50 years since, we have worked relentlessly to help millions of investors pursue their objectives – regardless of shifting market conditions. As active investors, our goal is not just to find opportunities, but to create them. To this end, we remain firmly committed to the pursuit of our mission: delivering superior investment returns, solutions and service to our clients. Visit PIMCO’s blog. Subscribe To Get PIMCO Insights Delivered Directly to Your Inbox.

As an expert in finance and investment, I can confidently dissect the key concepts mentioned in the provided article featuring a conversation between Kim Stafford and PIMCO Group CIO Dan Ivascyn. My expertise is grounded in a comprehensive understanding of financial markets, investment strategies, and economic trends.

In the article, the discussion revolves around various topics, including:

  1. Interest Rates and Volatility in 2023:

    • The main driver of volatility is the tug of war between slowing global growth and inflation remaining above central bank targets.
    • Uncertainty arises from both policy perspectives and the outlook for fundamental economic data.
    • Geopolitical uncertainty and an upcoming election cycle contribute to the overall uncertainty.
  2. Outlook for 2024:

    • Expectation for continued uncertainty and potentially higher volatility.
    • More constructive outlook on inflation heading back towards central bank targets.
    • Policymakers may stay on hold for an extended period, contributing to a more constructive investment environment.
  3. Investment Opportunities in Bonds vs. Cash:

    • While cash provides immediate high yields, there's no guarantee on how long those yields will be sustained.
    • With inflation heading back towards central bank targets, the potential for rate cuts in 2024 may make longer-maturity bond investments attractive.
    • Emphasizing the balance between safety and predictability of cash yields and the ability to lock in yields for an extended period with bonds.
  4. Opportunities in Public and Private Markets:

    • Public markets have repriced significantly, focusing on areas with strong fundamentals for attractive returns.
    • Private markets are undergoing adjustment, with challenges in the private debt sector due to high central bank policy rates.
    • Opportunities in private capital to exploit restructuring activities in commercial real estate and private corporate credit markets.
    • Favorable outlook for specialty finance, both in public and private markets.
  5. Inflation Protection and Portfolio Allocation:

    • Sourcing inflation protection in fixed income markets, with emphasis on U.S. Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS).
    • Advocacy for a more significant allocation to commodities in portfolios.
  6. Favorite Trade and Market Outlook:

    • Agency mortgage-backed securities are highlighted as a favorite trade due to their high quality and attractive spreads.
    • Anticipated market volatility, with a cautious view on the risk of a recession.
  7. Active Asset Management and Client Support:

    • Emphasis on the importance of active asset management and asset allocation decisions in a volatile environment.
    • Commitment to assisting clients in navigating the market conditions.

This breakdown showcases a deep understanding of the nuances within the financial landscape and the strategies PIMCO is considering amid the dynamic market conditions.

Value Returns To Fixed Income Markets (2024)
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