Low Oil Still an Issue for Junk Bond ETFs

With the Federal Reserve standing pat on interest rates and remaining vague on its bond tapering plans, yields on U.S. Treasuries dipped in the latter half of July, which helped fuel greater demand for alternative income-generating assets in a persistently low-yield environment. The additional risk-on sentiment toward corporate America in light of the rosy second quarter earnings season also helped lift the outlook on credit markets.

The iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (NYESArca: LQD) experienced $1.6 billion in net inflows while the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: HYG) attracted $1.3 billion and the SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca: JNK) brought in $814.3 million.

There are some positive factors for ETFs such as HYG as it pertains to lower oil prices.

“Today, low rated companies (CCC and below) make up a smaller portion of high yield energy issuers,” according to BlackRock. “High yield energy is now 13% of the Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Index as opposed to 17% in early 2016. That is roughly a 25% drop in its contribution to high yield spreads.”

For more on bond ETFs, visit our Fixed Income category.