Tudor Investment Corp., the hedge fund run by Paul Tudor Jones, is not among the investors fearing high-yield corporate bonds.
During the second quarter, Tudor Investment Corp. trimmed its stake in the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: LQD) while building a stake in the iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: HYG) worth $145.4 million at the end of the quarter, according to Bloomberg.
Dragging on the speculative-grade bond space, low-rated energy bonds have been dropping on default fears in light of the falling oil prices. The Royal Bank of Scotland projects that U.S. default rates could double from about 2% to 4% by the end of the year. UBS has warned that distress in energy bonds can spread to other areas of the high-yield market as soem companies are exposed to the resulting investment decline and job losses.
The junk bond ETFs also include significant tilt toward the energy sector. HYG holds 13.5% in energy bond issuers, PHB has 14.6% energy and HYLD includes about 10% in energy-related bonds.
Additionally, Moody’s Covenant Quality Index, which measures the strength of legal protection in junk bonds, dipped in June to its weakest level since the index was created in 2011. With the Federal Reserve set to hike interest rates, junk bonds could also come under pressure. [High Yield Bond Risks]
LQD has a 30-day SEC yield of 3.6% compared to nearly 6.1% for HYG, the largest junk bond ETF. Fixed-income investors are growing wary of investment-grade debt with yields at historically low 3.4% while companies are increasing acquisitions, share buybacks an dividends. Additionally, many bond traders are cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s planned interest rate hike, its first since 2006.