Amid concerns of rate tightening by the Federal Reserve and impact that higher interest rates could have on lower-rated borrowers, investors have not been shy about pulling capital from high-yield corporate bond exchange traded funds this year.
Year-to-date, investors have yanked a combined $3.4 billion from the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: HYG) and the SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca: JNK), the two largest junk bond ETFs by assets. [The State of Junk Bond ETF Flows]
Investors have had a far more sanguine view of investment-grade corporates as evidenced by the $1.1 billion that has flowed into the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: LQD). However, with a duration of almost 7.7 years, LQD is not exactly free of interest rate risk.
To be fair, no bond ETF is entirely free of interest rate rate risk, but one ETF focused on corporate debt that helps mitigate investors’ exposure to fluctuations in borrowing costs is the SPDR Barclays Short Term Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: SCPB).
Predictably with a shorter duration ETF, investors will sacrifice yield. SCPB has a 30-day SEC yield of just over 1% compared to 3.1% on LQD. However, SCPB’s rewards extend beyond. For an annual fee of just over 12 basis points per year, investors are treated to a modified adjusted duration of just 1.87 years, according to State Street data.
In terms of credit quality, SCPB truly is a high-grade option with over 57% of its 990 holdings carrying ratings of Aa or A. [Fed Protection With These ETFs]