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BlackRock: Time To Get Bearish On European Bonds
From BlackRock: We are downgrading European sovereign bonds and credit to underweight as the second quarter begins. Richard Turnill explains, with the help of this week’s chart.
We are downgrading European sovereign bonds and credit to underweight as the second quarter begins. Richard explains, with the help of this week’s chart.
European bonds do not reflect the region’s better growth, we believe. Central bank purchases, investor yield-seeking and safe-haven flows have driven down yields on government and investment grade corporate bonds. Eurozone credit spreads have compressed well below those of U.S. peers. The result: Eurozone bonds seem pricey. See the chart above.
A disconcerting disconnect
The eurozone’s stealth recovery has steadily accelerated since mid-2016, with the region’s composite PMI hitting a six-year high in March. Eurozone inflation expectations have perked up from depressed levels, and we see global reflation reinforcing Europe’s comeback.
The disconnect between this economic outlook and heady eurozone bond valuations makes us nervous. We see near-term political risks waning after the key spring French election, even if Italy remains a concern. This may prompt an unwinding of safe-haven bund buying that drove two-year yields to nearly -1%. Rising growth and inflation expectations could stoke market jitters about the European Central Bank starting to wind down its accommodative measures, though we do not see near-term changes. A jump in sovereign yields could spark European credit market outflows, hurting richer investment grade bonds. Expensive valuations are evident in relatively tight credit spreads across eurozone countries despite the differentiation priced into sovereign bonds.
We see downside risks for European bonds. We prefer selected subordinated financial debt within European credit and favor high-quality U.S. credit and emerging market debt over government bonds, but credit valuations are elevated across the board. We prefer to take risk in equities and see upside for European stocks on stronger economic growth. Read more market insights in my Weekly Commentary.
The SPDR Bloomberg Barclays International Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:BWX) was unchanged in premarket trading Wednesday. Year-to-date, BWX has gained 2.73%, versus a 5.35% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.
BWX currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of B (Buy), and is ranked #10 of 18 ETFs in the Global Bond ETFs category.
Richard Turnill is BlackRock’s global chief investment strategist. He is a regular contributor to The Blog.
This article is brought to you courtesy of BlackRock.
You are viewing an abbreviated republication of ETF Daily News content. You can find full ETF Daily News articles on (www.etfdailynews.com)
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