Broker Check
Fixed Income Excels in the Third Quarter

Fixed Income Excels in the Third Quarter

October 06, 2020
Share |

The third quarter was characterized by the carry-over of economic momentum from the second quarter, as states continued to lift restrictions to reopen their economies. Perhaps it was no surprise that some of the hardest hit and most economically sensitive areas of the fixed income market benefited.

As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, the sectors of the fixed income market widely considered to be “risk on” outperformed, such as high yield, bank loans, and emerging market debt:

View enlarged chart.

Further, these sectors typically carry lower interest-rate sensitivity than other segments of the fixed income universe. While Treasury yields remained broadly flat during the quarter, the return of economic growth pushed many investors to position for a rise in yields, increasing the attractiveness of these sectors. Despite the strong quarter, however, the brutal environment during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has left these sectors playing catch-up to their investment-grade counterparts for the year.

“With economic growth returning during the third quarter, we expected the risky corners of the fixed income market to perk up,” said LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Nevertheless, as the rate of growth following the initial rebound in the economy tapers a bit, there may be some additional volatility in these sectors.”

As we noted in our blog, Low Treasury Yields Present a Challenge, low Treasury yields also present a challenge for investors as the deflationary shock that characterized the early months of the pandemic subsided and inflation expectations normalized. Since nominal Treasury bonds presented very little income to investors while carrying greater interest rate risk as a result, we saw a strong environment for Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) in the third quarter as they outperformed their nominal counterpart.

Not to be left out, municipal bonds also fared well in the third quarter, outperforming Treasuries as well as the broader Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index. High-yield municipals fared the best—given the index’s exposure to revenue bonds—as economic momentum lifted the attractiveness of the sector. While a fourth stimulus bill remains elusive, investors expect additional stimulus will have some funding for state and local governments, perhaps raising the attractiveness of municipal bonds.

Looking forward into the fourth quarter, we continue to prefer high-quality fixed income exposure as the rate of economic growth has tapered, and further uncertainty around the path of the recovery could limit the attractiveness of the riskier segments of the fixed income market.

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change. References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. All index and market data from FactSet and MarketWatch. This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates.  To the extent you are receiving investment advice from a separately registered independent investment advisor that is not an LPL affiliate, please note LPL makes no representation with respect to such entity. Not Insured by FDIC/NCUA or Any Other Government Agency, Not Bank/Credit Union Guaranteed, Not Bank/Credit Union Deposits or Obligations, May Lose Value. For Public Use – Tracking 1-05063769