Assets in junk bond ETFs have soared to over $30 billion as investors move into speculative grade corporate debt in search of more yield in a low-interest-rate environment.
In fact, ETFs are on track to overtake credit derivatives as a way to speculate on high-yield bonds, Bloomberg News reports. Tighter regulation in derivatives markets after the financial crisis is also driving the junk bond ETF boom.
High-yield ETFs are breaking out to new 52-week highs in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s QE3 program while U.S. Treasury funds are staggering as investors take on more risk and move away from safe havens. [High-Yield ETFs Climb to New Highs as Treasuries Languish]
For example, the average junk-bond yield has fallen to all-time lows. [Junk Bond ETFs Break Out as Yields Hit Record Low]
Junk bond ETFs include SPDR Barclays Capital High Yield Bond (NYSEArca: JNK), iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond (NYSEArca: HYG), PIMCO 0-5 Year High Yield Corporate Bond Index Fund (NYSEArca: HYS) and PowerShares High Yield Corporate Bond Portfolio (NYSEArca: PHB).
JNK and HYG are the largest ETFs in the category and are offering yields around 6%.