There are ways to for investors to stay involved with high-yield bonds without taking on significant credit risk or dealing with the adverse effects of tumbling oil prices on junk-rated corporate debt.
The Market Vectors Fallen Angel High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca: ANGL) is a prime example. ANGL, tracks so-called fallen angel, speculative-grade debt, or those bonds that were born with investment-grade ratings but were later downgraded to junk territory.
Fallen angel issuers tend to be larger and more established than many other junk bond issuers. Furthermore, since these fallen angels were formerly on the cusp of investment-grade status, this group of junk bonds typically has a higher average credit quality than many other speculative-grade debt-related funds.
Year-to-date, ANGL has offered better performance than well-known corporate bond funds such as the SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca: JNK) and the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: LQD) while offering a yield on par with JNK, one of the largest junk bond ETFs. [A Bond ETF Worth Watching]
“ANGL has a duration of five years, which is actually less than LQD’s eight years, albeit a touch more than JNK’s four years. It can be a slight factor against JNK, but it is minor and doesn’t explain the bulk of the outperformance. What about credit risk? Well, compared with the investment-grade LQD, ANGL is definitely taking on more credit risk, which has in fact helped in the past couple of years as high-yield has generally outperformed investment grade. But compared with JNK, ANGL is taking on less credit risk and it still manages to outperform. This is where it gets interesting,” reports Eric Balchunas for Bloomberg.