In contrast, the widely observed SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca: JNK) and iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: HYG) include junkier speculative-grade holdings. Specifically, HYG holds 0.4% BBB-rated debt, 50.8% BB, 36.7% B, 11.5% CCC, 0.8% CC and 0.01% C. JNK includes BB 42.5%, B 41.4% and CCC or lower 16.0%.
The slightly higher credit quality may also help explain why ANGL and PHB are outperforming HYG and JNK. Year-to-date, PHB advanced 5.9% and ANGL increased 12.3%, whereas HYG rose 4.6% and JNK gained 4.5%.
However, the tilt toward higher credit quality means that funds have a slightly lower yield. ANGL shows 6.54% 30-day SEC yield and PHB has a 4.84% 30-day SEC yield while HYG has a 6.61% 30-day SEC yield and JNK comes with a 6.85% 30-day SEC yield.
After the recent rebound in junk bonds, some high-yield ETF investors may be calling it a top. HYG experienced 27.8 million share redemptions, or about $2.6 billion in outflows, over the past four days while the SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca: JNK) saw outflows of $245.7 million over the past week.
In contrast, ANGL and PHB, though, have bucked the trend, adding $24.3 million and $23.7 million, respectively, in net inflows over the past week, which suggests that while investors may be trimming speculative-grade positions, higher quality junk still remains a solid play.
The junk bond market may still have legs. Even with the recent rebound, there is still a high premium to hold speculative-grade debt over safer government bonds. According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch data, yields on junk-rated bonds were 639 basis points over comparable government bonds. Looking at the ETFs, ANGL, which has a 5.73 year duration, shows a 6.54% 30-day SEC yield while 5-year Treasury bonds show a 1.20% yield.