Tag Archives: MarketWatch

High Yield ETFs Look Especially Risky Now

Robert Powell of MarketWatch today says you should buy junk bonds, while Zero Hedge says he’s turned bearish on the sector.

I’m going to go with Zero Hedge because he makes a more compelling case, and in fact, if you didn’t see the headline on the Marketwatch story, you might think it was telling you to sell as well. In fact, the Marketwatch story’s big bull, Steve Huber, manager of the T.Rowe Price Strategic Income fund says, “To be sure, there is a scenario when investing in junk bonds might not so wise. If the U.S. growth slowdown proves not to be temporary and European periphery issues deteriorate further, the general selloff in risk assets could accelerate.”

It sure looks like that’s happening. And investors aren’t waiting around to see what happens. Powell says junk bond mutual funds saw $1.6 billion in outflows in just one week this month.

Meanwhile, ZeroHedge is down on the entire high-yield market, especially Greek, Irish and Portuguese bonds. However, he is particularly bearish on the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond Fund (HYG) and the SPDR Barclays Capital High Yield Bond ETF (JNK).

He says if the junk bonds continue to see heavy outflows “it will be hard for high yield to maintain current prices, particularly given how illiquid it currently is.” He says you can tell how illiquid they market has become by the haircuts both funds took last Thursday, when HYG fell 2%. As trading volumes in junk bonds fell and bid/ask spreads widened, institutional investors sold the ETFs rather than the actual bonds. With the liquidity at an extreme low, he says cut your high-yield risk, and is on the verge of shorting the ETFs.

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MarketWatch Interviews Me on Dividends

Lawrence Carrel, author of “Dividend Stocks for Dummies,” advocates for dividend-heavy portfolios, saying volatile markets are a ripe time to pick paying stocks. With stock values unpredictable, investors find comfort in knowing that they will at least be paid the dividend even if they lose out on stock value, he said.

“More people want the income from dividend stocks now… they’ve had an awakening,” Carrel said. “They are not gung-ho about growth anymore.”

In his book, Carrel outlines several myths that investors harbor about dividend-paying stocks.

Myth 1: Avoid dividend-paying stocks in volatile markets

On the contrary, Carrel sees rocky times as the right time to invest in stocks where you can recoup profits without selling the shares.

“In general, it’s a little less risky,” Carrel said. “There’s the idea that if I’m going to be in an environment and I can’t be sure where the stock price is going to be, at least I will be able to walk away with profits from dividends.”

For the full article go to MarketWatch.