Years of significant growth in the U.S. corporate bond market have been accompanied by a steady decrease in overall credit quality and a trend toward higher leverage. Close to $80 billion in U.S. corporate bonds currently rated BBB potentially could be downgraded below investment grade in 2018, according to our estimates.
Investors may want to consider taking a more cautious and selective approach to BBB nonfinancial corporate bonds, particularly those in the low BBB rated segment, where the risk of downgrades is higher and the room for error is lower.
That said, we find many compelling BBB bonds in the U.S. marketplace today. As a large active fixed income manager, PIMCO is in our view ideally positioned to manage the risks in the complicated universe of BBB bonds.
Momentum is one of the most compelling factors in theoretical long–short paper portfolios, but live results of momentum strategies fall short of theoretical returns. Thoughtful implementation, a careful sell discipline, and an avoidance of stocks with stale momentum can narrow the gap between paper and live results.
China is dropping its focus on “dirty” industrial growth, while making a massive shift toward renewable energy and a less resource-intensive path to economic success. This reorientation could open up substantial opportunities for equity investors.
MSCI has announced that China A-shares will be included in its emerging-market (EM) index next year, as we anticipated. Now, global equity investors need to consider how to access the vast universe of stocks traded onshore in China.
China A-shares could shortly be included in a key international benchmark for the first time—in a way that highlights smarter efforts by the West to help China integrate fully into global markets.
In 2016, Research Affiliates published a series of articles challenging the “smart beta” revolution. We pointed out that, while there is merit in many factor tilt and smart beta strategies, performance chasing in these strategies—buying the popular outperforming strategies whose relative valuations are at extremely high levels—can be just as dangerous as performance chasing in other realms of asset management.