The Federal Reserve has its wallet open wide with an initial plan to purchase copious amounts of Treasury notes and mortgage-backed securities. Now, it’s planning on buying up $100 billion in corporate debt, which should help add some fuel to corporate bond exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
As a result of the move, a lot of companies rushed to issue new debt, especially with interest rates being at historic lows given the central bank’s move to zero in its last interest rate policy meeting. Companies like United Parcel Service and General Dynamics were just a couple of names that filed with the Securities Exchange Commission on Wednesday to issue new debt.
Will this latest move help shore up the economy and prevent it from sliding into a recession? In the meantime, here are three corporate bond ETFs investors should take a look at while the Fed is on a bond shopping spree:
Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF (NASDAQ: VCSH): VCSH tracks the performance of a market-weighted corporate bond index with a short-term dollar-weighted average maturity–the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. 1-5 Year Corporate Bond Index. VCSH debt holdings mirror those found within the index, so U.S. dollar-denominated, investment-grade, fixed-rate, taxable securities issued by industrial, utility, and financial companies comprise the debt portfolio. Furthermore, in order to curb volatility in the bond markets, maturities are relatively short-duration issues–between 1 and 5 years until maturity.
SPDR Portfolio Short Term Corp Bd ETF (NYSEArca: SPSB): SPSB seeks to provide investment results that correlate with the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. 1-3 Year Corporate Bond Index. Once again, O’Leary would benefit from the reduced exposure to volatility with SPSB’s investment in shorter-duration debt with maturities less than three years. In addition, SBSP minimizes credit risk by constructing a debt portfolio that contains only investment-grade bonds with companies that are less likely to default.
ProShares Investment Grade—Intr Rt Hdgd (BATS: IGHG): IGHG tracks the performance of the Citi Corporate Investment Grade (Treasury Rate-Hedged) Index so it invests in long positions in USD-denominated investment grade corporate bonds issued by both U.S. and foreign domiciled companies and short positions in U.S. Treasuries. O’Leary likes to minimize downside risk, so he would probably prefer a corporate bond ETF with a debt portfolio in investment-grade bonds, which is where IGHG invests 80% of its capital. Investment-grade allows investors to mitigate credit risk by allocating capital towards debt issues that are less likely to default versus less-than-investment-grade issues.
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