Bond ETF Investing In A Rising-Rate Environment

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In this episode of ETF Spotlight, I speak with Steve Laipply, U.S. Head of iShares Fixed Income ETFs at BlackRock, about navigating a challenging market environment, with inflation surging and interest rates on the rise.

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with a portfolio exceeding $9.5 trillion, offers 397 ETFs in the U.S. markets, including 111 fixed income ETFs, both active and index tracking, across a variety of strategies. The firm forecasts that assets in fixed income ETFs will grow from about $1.7 trillion currently to $5 trillion by the end of this decade.

U.S. bonds had suffered their worst quarterly losses in more than 40 years and many experts predicted that the decades-long bull market run in bonds has come to an end. However, we have seen some renewed interest in bonds lately as market concerns have shifted from inflation to growth slowdown. Treasury bonds usually perform well during times of weak economic growth.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note has come down to 2.75% from a peak of over 3% earlier this month and bond markets have shown some signs of stabilizing,

Steve believes that bonds are still an important part of the portfolio, as they can generate a steady source of income and also serve as a hedge over the longer term.  The iShares National Muni Bond ETF (MUB - Free Report) is worth a look as income from many municipal bonds is exempt from taxes.

Many investors use Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) whose principal and interest rate payments rise along with inflation.  However, TIPS are also subject to interest rate risk. The iShares 0-5 Year TIPS Bond ETF (STIP - Free Report) provides exposure to short-term TIPS and has lower interest rate risk.

Investment grade and high yield bonds also look attractive after the recent sell-off. Income-focused investors could also look at the iShares 0-5 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (SLQD - Free Report) and the iShares 05 Year High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (SHYG - Free Report) that target shorter-term debt.

We also discuss the benefits of investing in bond ETFs versus individual bonds.

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