Investors are getting bombarded by talk of a so-called Great Rotation from fixed-income to stocks after a three-decade bull run in bonds and as interest rates bump higher and U.S. equities flirt with all-time highs.
Of course, investors who bought bond ETFs the last three years are sitting on nice gains following the drop in Treasury yields to historic lows.
ConvergEx Group chief market strategist Nicholas Colas borrows a gambling term to call these bond ETF profits the “House money.”
“But just how vulnerable is that coupon-clipping ‘House money’ to a rise in interest rates? A quick look at some of the most popular fixed income ETFs of the last three years finds that it would take a 200 basis point backup in rates to threaten the risk-loving ‘House money’ which should migrate to stocks in 2013,” he wrote in a note this week.
Over the past three years, mutual fund investors have pumped $931 billion to taxable long-term portfolios, while U.S.-listed fixed-income ETFs have gathered $104 billion, according to ConvergEx.
“To get a sense of the investment returns and duration (interest rate risk) of the most popular bond investments of the last three years, we took the nine ETFs with the largest aggregate money flows over that period (60% of all the money invested in bond ETFs),” Colas wrote.