Investment-grade bonds are set for the worst month since February’s rout.
U.S. high-grade debt is headed for a decline of 1.2 percent this month and the worst October in a decade, according to the Bloomberg Barclays Indexes. The bonds still outperformed their junk-rated peers, which are set for a slide of 1.8 percent, the biggest in nearly three years. It would be the first time investment-grade has outperformed high-yield in five months.
A laundry list of worries — from higher interest rates to trade-war concerns — struck financial markets this month, and bonds have been no exception.
“High-yield underperforming U.S. IG makes sense in that it’s clearly about risk right now,” Tim Doubek, a portfolio manager at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, said in an interview.
or the year, junk bonds are still doing better. They’ve handed investors returns of 0.72 percent, compared with a 3.5 percent loss for the better-rated debt.
“It’s been kind of a confounding thing for us,” Doubek said. “Part of the IG total return shortfall can be explained by rising Treasury rates.”