With U.S. high-yield debt receiving ample attention from the mainstream media and within the financial blogosphere, it is not surprising that some investors may be overlooking international junk bonds as possible portfolio additions.
Ignorance, however, may not be bliss when it comes to European junk bonds. Helped by the Eurozone inching out of a deep recession, European high-yield bonds are poised to make October their best month since April, reports Katie Linsell for Bloomberg.
Fraser Lundie, co-head of credit at Hermes Fund Managers, told Bloomberg “European high-yield is in a sweet spot at the moment,” while noting junk bonds tend to outperform in slow growth environments, such as the one Europe is currently contending with.
That is potentially good news for the Market Vectors International High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca: IHY). IHY tracks the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global ex-US Issuers High Yield Constrained Index (HXUS), which is comprised of junk bonds “denominated in Euros, U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars or pound sterling issued in the major domestic or Eurobond markets,” according to Market Vectors.
While IHY does offer a fair amount of emerging markets exposure (China, Russia and Brazil combine for 13.6% of the ETF’s weight), the ETF is more heavily allocated to developed markets. For example, the ETF’s top-five country weights are the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg. Those countries combine for 49.2% of IHY’s weight. [Junk Bond ETFs for Income]
Spain and Portugal, among other Eurozone nations are also found among IHY’s holdings.