Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stock-like returns w/o buying stocks

Many market participants expect the equity markets to teeter along around DOW 8000 for quite some time. If recent market conditions have drifted your risk preferences away from stocks, but you cringe earning a measly .11% in your "high-yield" checking account, you may want to consider high-yield corporate bonds.

An individual investor with less than $100,000 to invest probably shouldn't try to build their own bond portfolio. It would be costly and time-consuming to find enough suitable bonds that match your investment preferences. To avoid these costs, consider a bond fund. For someone who still has an appetite for risk, I would look at the iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond Fund (HYG): http://us.ishares.com/product_info/fund/overview/HYG.htm

The fund invests in 52 different bonds across different sectors with an average credit rating of B+ (non-investment grade) and an expense ratio of .5%. Yes, high-yield bonds are "risky," but these days so too are common stocks that have paid an increasing dividend for the past 75 years. Plus, with bond investing you are higher up on the demand chain should things go wrong with the underlying company.

In this environment bonds can experience stock-like returns--HYG's hefty dividend yield is over 10%. Until the stock market looks more attractive, you can get paid to wait.

As outflows of stock funds speed up, inflows into bond funds are increasing, with over $5 billion coming in last week (week ended 2/12). So my idea probably isn't too unique, but either way it may be an attractive alternative to stock investing worth considering.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good recommendation Aaron.