August 16, 2017
Agency MBS performance was positive in the second quarter, driven by a continued softening in volatility and lower net supply relative to expectations. Additionally, tight spreads in credit sensitive areas have helped make Agency MBS’s nominally tight spreads appear relatively attractive. These factors all contributed to spreads holding at relatively tight levels even as the Fed announced details about its portfolio runoff plans.
TIght spreads in credit sensitive areas have helped make Agency MBS’s nominally tight spreads appear relatively attractive. Relative value considerations helped limit MBS spread widening even as the Fed announced its tapering plans.
Source: Bloomberg, Guggenheim Investments. Data as of 7.4.2017.
The Fed plans a graduated quarterly schedule of runoff caps ending at $20 billion per month, most likely commencing in October. The Fed seems to understand its place as the most important source of demand for Agency MBS, particularly as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have shrunk their balance sheets.
The Fed seems to understand its place as the most important consistent source of post-crisis Agency MBS demand, particularly as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have shrunk their balance sheets. Increased supply concerns should not become a fundamental issue until 2018, when the Fed’s lower reinvestment levels become meaningful.
Source: BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, Guggenheim Investments. Data as of Q1 2017.
If investors become concerned about tapering-induced supply, the basis could witness periods of pressure causing spreads to widen, but assuming tapering begins this year, increased supply concerns should not become a fundamental issue until 2018, when the Fed’s lower reinvestment levels become meaningful. At that point, we would expect foreign investors, domestic banks, and money managers to provide the backstop bid for Agency MBS, albeit at wider spread levels. Risks to this outcome include regulatory uncertainty, the relative value of competing products, and a potential increase in volatility. The path may not be smooth, but spreads will likely settle in approximately 20 basis points wider relative to current levels.
The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. MBS index posted a 0.9 percent return in the second quarter of 2017, the strongest since the second quarter of 2016. Yields ended the quarter at 2.9 percent, unchanged from the previous quarter, while the Agency MBS basis is roughly 10 basis points tighter since the beginning of the year.
There may be opportunities to pick up assets at substantially wider spreads as the market adjusts to the evolving technical dynamics driven by tapering expectations. We continue to prefer a portfolio of cash-flow story bonds for duration management. In particular, repayment risk is being driven by turnover as borrower-refinancing opportunities dwindle. Moreover, credit curing, marginally loosening lending standards, and home price appreciation are the turnover themes driving prepayments. Bonds exposed to these factors can provide opportunities to pick up relative value within the Agency MBS sector.
—Jeffrey Traister, CFA, Managing Director; Aditya Agrawal, CFA, Director
This article is distributed for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investing advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. It contains opinions of the authors but not necessarily those of Guggenheim Partners or its subsidiaries. The authors’ opinions are subject to change without notice. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but are not assured as to accuracy. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Investing involves risk. In general, the value of fixed-income securities fall when interest rates rise. High-yield securities present more liquidity and credit risk than investment grade bonds and may be subject to greater volatility. Asset-backed securities, including mortgage-backed securities, may have structures that make their reaction to interest rates and other factors difficult to predict, making their prices volatile and they are subject to liquidity risk. Investments in floating rate senior secured syndicated bank loans and other floating rate securities involve special types of risks, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and prepayment risk. Guggenheim Investments represents the following affiliated investment management businesses of Guggenheim Partners, LLC: Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC, Security Investors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC, Guggenheim Real Estate, LLC, GS GAMMA Advisors, LLC, Guggenheim Partners Europe Limited, and Guggenheim Partners India Management. ©2017, Guggenheim Partners, LLC. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission of Guggenheim Partners, LLC.
History shows that once our recession forecast model reaches current levels, aggressive policy can delay recession, but not avoid it.
Credit spreads could get tighter in this liquidity-driven rally, but history has shown that the potential for widening from here is much greater.
Rational immigration policy, not rate cuts, is the way to avoid recession.
Portfolio Manager Adam Bloch and Matt Bush, a Director in the Macroeconomic and Investment Research Group, share insights from the third quarter 2019 Fixed-Income Outlook.
Anne Walsh, Chief Investment Officer for Fixed Income, shares insights on the fixed-income market and explains the Guggenheim approach to solving the Core Conundrum.
You are now leaving this website.Guggenheim assumes no responsibility of the content or its accuracy.
Your browser does not support iframes.
2019 Guggenheim Partners, LLC. All rights reserved. Guggenheim, Guggenheim Partners and Innovative Solutions. Enduring Values. are registered trademarks of Guggenheim Capital, LLC.