For better and worse, exchange traded funds holding high-yield corporate debt have been in the spotlight quite a bit in recent weeks.
Over the four weeks ending Aug. 6, investors pulled $13 billion from junk bond funds and ETFs, stoking talk frothy high-yield valuations a tenuous junk bond bubble destined to burst with dangerous consequences. [Some Junk Bond ETFs Recovering Lost Assets]
As highlighted by inflows of over $1.5 billion to the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: HYG) and the SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca: JNK) since Aug. 7, some investors are clearly returning to junk bond ETFs, indicating that a high-yield bubble may not be as imminent as previously thought.
“Obviously, an acute risk-off scenario would likely hit high yield harder than investment grade or mortgage backed securities,” said Market Vectors Portfolio Manager Fran Rodilosso in a statement. “But we see a number of factors that tell us we’re not currently in a bubble for high yield. For example, the effects of the recent high yield sell-off have been almost completely retraced and the fundamentals, like issuance, corporate leverage levels, and default rates, remain relatively strong.”
There some ETFs that offer unique avenues to high-yield exposure that could prove resilient in the current environment, including the Market Vectors Fallen Angel High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca: ANGL). Due to the once upon a time investment-grade status of its holdings, ANGL’s profile is tidier than other high-yield bond ETFs with nearly three-quarters of the fund’s weight rated BB. [An Angelic ETF for Junk Bonds]
“Fallen angels tend to have higher credit quality on average than the broader high yield universe,” Rodilosso says, “and ANGL’s value proposition has played out across multiple time horizons, outperforming other ETFs covering the high yield space.”
ANGL has an effective duration of 5.5 years, a yield to worst of 4.64% and a 30-day SEC yield of 4.4%, according to Market Vectors data.