Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. 2019 From A Fourth Turning Perspective - James_Quinn
2.Beware the Young Stocks Bear Market! - Zeal_LLC
3.Safe Havens are Surging. What this Means for Stocks 2019 - Troy_Bombardia
4.Most Popular Financial Markets Analysis of 2018 - Trump and BrExit Chaos Dominate - Nadeem_Walayat
5.January 2019 Financial Markets Analysis and Forecasts - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Silver Price Trend Analysis 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Why 90% of Traders Lose - Nadeem_Walayat
8.What to do With Your Money in a Stocks Bear Market - Stephen_McBride
9.Stock Market What to Expect in the First 3~5 Months of 2019 - Chris_Vermeulen
10.China, Global Economy has Tipped over: The Surging Dollar and the Rallying Yen - FXCOT
Last 7 days
Gold Bullhorns Quieted for a Day, at Least - 22nd Feb 19
US Auto Loans - Americans Missing Car Payments Is a Symptom of a Much Bigger Problem - 22nd Feb 19
Stock Traders Must Be Cautious Part III - 22nd Feb 19
Stock Traders Must Stay Optimistically Cautious II - 22nd Feb 19
Sheffield FlyPast Footage - "Mi Amigo" US Bomber Crash Memorial Endcliffe Park - 22nd Feb 19
Sheffield "Mi Amigo" Memorial Fly Past , BBC Crew Setting Up Stage for Breakfast TV Endcliffe Park - 21st Feb 19
Stocks Closer to Medium-Term Resistance Level - 21st Feb 19
The Stock Market’s Momentum is Extremely Strong. What’s Next for Stocks - 21st Feb 19
QE Forever: The Fed's Dramatic About-face - 21st Feb 19
Gold Technical Perspective – Why So Bullish? - 21st Feb 19
Sheffield "Mi Amigo" Memorial Fly Past at 8.45am on 22nd Feb 2019 - 20th Feb 19
Here’s The Real Reason You Stress About Money - 20th Feb 19
Five Online Marketing Predictions that will Matter in 2019 - 20th Feb 19
Has Gold Price Reached Upside Resistance Near $1340-1360? - 20th Feb 19
So Many Things are Not Confirming Stock Market Rally - 20th Feb 19
Forex Trading Management: The Importance of Being Prepared - 19th Feb 19
Gold Stocks are Following This Historical Template - 19th Feb 19
Here’s Why The Left’s New Economic Policies Are Just Stupid - 19th Feb 19
Should We Declare Emergency for Gold? - 19th Feb 19
Why Stock Traders Must Stay Optimistically Cautious Going Forward - 19th Feb 19
The Corporate Debt Bubble Is Strikingly Similar to the Subprime Mortgage Bubble - 18th Feb 19
Stacking The Next QE On Top Of A $4 Trillion Fed Floor - 18th Feb 19
Get ready for the Stock Market Breakout Pattern Setup II - 18th Feb 19
It's Blue Skies For The Stock Market As Far As The Eye Can See - 18th Feb 19
Stock Market Correction is Due - 18th Feb 19
Iran's Death Spiral -- 40 Years And Counting - 17 Feb 19
Venezuela's Opposition Is Playing With Fire - 17 Feb 19
Fed Chairman Deceives; Precious Metals Mine Supply Threatened - 17 Feb 19
After 8 Terrific Weeks for Stocks, What’s Next? - 16th Feb 19
My Favorite Real Estate Strategies: Rent to Live, Buy to Rent - 16th Feb 19
Schumer & Sanders Want One Thing: Your Money - 16th Feb 19
What Could Happen When the Stock Markets Correct Next - 16th Feb 19
Bitcoin Your Best Opportunity Outside of Stocks - 16th Feb 19
Olympus TG-5 Tough Camera Under SEA Water Test - 16th Feb 19
"Mi Amigo" Sheffield Bomber Crash Memorial Site Fly-past on 22nd February 2019 VR360 - 16th Feb 19
Plunging Inventories have Zinc Bulls Ready to Run - 15th Feb 19
Gold Stocks Mega Mergers Are Bad for Shareholders - 15th Feb 19
Retail Sales Crash! It’s 2008 All Over Again for Stock Market and Economy! - 15th Feb 19
Is Gold Market 2019 Like 2016? - 15th Feb 19
Virgin Media's Increasingly Unreliable Broadband Service - 15th Feb 19
2019 Starting to Shine But is it a Long Con for Stock Investors? - 15th Feb 19
Gold is on the Verge of a Bull-run and Here's Why - 15th Feb 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The Real Secret for Successful Trading

Floating-Rate Funds Poised to Profit as Interest Rates Rise

Interest-Rates / Corporate Bonds Sep 11, 2014 - 06:54 PM GMT

By: Casey_Research

Interest-Rates

By Andrey Dashkov

Money can’t be this cheap forever. In other words, one of the most likely scenarios the US economy faces is rising interest rates. The current low-interest-rate climate is simply unsustainable. At some point—as it always does—the trend will turn around. We want to be prepared for that turn, and the right floating-rate fund can help.


A floating-rate loan is a bank loan with interest that’s tied to some benchmark rate, often the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR). When the LIBOR changes, so does the loan’s coupon. The rate is adjusted every 30-90 days. Floating-rate funds are pools of capital that invest in these loans, earn variable-rate interest, and pay dividends that are themselves flexible.

Variable Dividends Boost Immunity

Variable dividends are the key feature of floating-rate funds. They’re what separate floating-rate funds from the rest of the debt market. Flexible dividends make shares of the bond funds immune to rising interest rates; the prices of the bonds and the fund’s shares don’t get punished when rates go up. What the investor sees is higher dividends; his principal is safe.

A note of caution is in order here: Even though floating-rate bonds don’t have the same inverse price-yield relationship as fixed-rate debt instruments, their prices can still go down. Although the automatic coupon adjustments mostly eliminate the first major risk of any debt instrument—interest-rate risk—floating-rate funds still hold the other major risk: credit risk. As a reminder, credit risk is the risk that the borrower won’t make payments on time or will default on the debt entirely.

The credit risk of floating-rate loans is high because the companies that borrow under these conditions are usually rated below investment grade. They can’t go to capital markets for money because fixed-rate loans would be too expensive, so they turn to banks that provide funds on floating-rate terms.

Since the companies borrowing these funds are below investment grade, their default rates are close to those of speculative-grade bonds. Vanguard Research reports that the average annual default rate from 1996 to 2012 for speculative-grade bonds was 4.5%; for senior floating-rate loans, it was 3.4%. Better, but still much higher than investment-grade bonds at 0.1%.

High Post-Default Recovery Rates

Does this mean that you should avoid floating-rate loans in favor of AAA-rated debt? No. First, floating-rate loans are high in a companies’ debt structure, which means that if the borrower defaults, investors holding floating-rate debt have a priority claim on the company’s assets. This leads to very high recovery rates for senior floating-rate loans in the event of default: 71.1%, or more than 70 cents on the dollar. Compare that to the next class of loans, senior secured, which are recovered at a rate of 56.8%.

Second, floating-rate loans outperform both high-yield loans and the aggregate US bond market. According to Vanguard, during the last three rising-rate periods (January 1994-February 1995, June 1999-May 2000, and June 2004-June 2006) floating-rate bonds outperformed high-yield instruments by 2.5 percentage points (pp) and the aggregate bond market by 4.3 pp.

After the rising-rate periods end, however, floating-rate funds tend to underperform both high-yield instruments and the overall bond market. This is why we’re buying them now, when rates have nowhere to go but up. We don’t know when that will happen, but when it does, we want to be positioned to profit.

In addition to their excellent performance in rising-interest-rate periods, floating-rate funds are good for diversification. Their correlation with the overall US bond market is close to zero, which makes them especially good for a portfolio focused on fixed-rate US bonds. However, they also belong in our retirement portfolio—the Money Forever portfolio—where we use them to diversify our allocation across various debt instruments and to make sure we are well positioned to profit from rising interest rates.

Entrée into the World of Big Money

To sum it up, floating-rate funds provide a way to diversify into an investment class that is almost immune to rising interest rates. Like business development companies, floating-rate funds offer retail investors entrée into an area of finance usually reserved for big money and institutions. In exchange for these opportunities, investors accept credit risk due to the low credit ratings of the borrowing companies. With that in mind, we pay close attention to the sectors of the funds we consider investing in, and prefer more defensive and crisis-resistant industries.

At Miller’s Money we closely monitor the bond market, constantly scouting out the best options for seniors and savers. Learn more need-to-know information about bonds and the role they play in today’s low-interest rate environment by downloading our free special report, Bond Basics today.

The article Floating-Rate Funds Poised to Profit as Interest Rates Rise was originally published at millersmoney.com.

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Casey Research Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules