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Friday, October 17, 2014

What Is Going on with Etf HYLD Advisorshares Short Term High Yield ?

I have written several times about HYLD advisorshares short term high yield  bond fund. I has sold off sharply in the last few weeks even in advance of the recent stock market selloff. It has also underperformed other high yield bond ETFs as of late. However even with the sharp decline in price (see below) the high yield on the fund is relatively low. The ytd total return is -2% and over the past 12 months the fund is +.1%

 The fund is composed of higher yielding bonds which are considered to have higher credit risk. In periods of panic High Yeild bonds will decline more than treasury bonds and investment grade corporate bonds. The recent readjustments at the major fund manager PIMCO likely led to some large sales of bonds in their portfolio and dislocations in the high yield bond market.

However HYLD has performed worse than other ETFs in its category. I would attribute that to 3 factors all of which should be monitored
  • A concentration in holdings in the energy sector at a time of large declines in energy prices.A bloomberg video report mentions specific losses in energy related high yield bonds.
  • Inclusion in the portfolio of some dividend paying stocks mostly in the energy industry into the portfolio.
  • A lower dividend paid in September vs previous months. The manager attributes this to a missed payment on a bond they held. The bond has been sold at a loss and the impact of that on the portfolio is already reflected in price and asset value. Also many of the stocks held in the portfolio pay dividends quarterly so many of those dividends were paid after last month’s dividend payment on the 27 of September.

At present I don’t see much reason for changes in the fund that is part of the strategic bond allocation. The main long term risk factor for this sector is cashflow to pay interest and principal on the bonds. As the fund adjusts its portfolio the yield on its bonds should increase. Of course the fund is not for the faint of heart and investors should weight that in consideration of the decision as to whether to hold the fund, it likely should be only part of a bond allocation that includes investment grade corporate and US treasury bonds.

My communications with the fund manager indicates their expectation(there are no guarantees) that future dividends will be at the rate of previous months which is around $.45 a share which makes the yield on an annual basis of close to 9% annualized based on current prices. I am in contact with the fund manager on a regular basis.

I am monitoring the HYLD carefully particularly around the next dividend date which is in the latter part of the month. Another disappointment with the dividend would be a reason to reassess an allocation to HYLD.

The fund manager Peritus recently published an update on their blog as to theirviews. The article emphasizes that they concentrate on prospects for cashflow in dividends and interest payments rather than short term price performance. They include the following graph from JP Morgan indicating historical and forecasted default rates

They note that recent price movements have moved the spread of high yield over treasury bonds to over 5%. That has likely increased with the fall in treasury yields of the last few days. The manager views the volatility as an opportunity to make new purchases and has added bonds with yields higher than the spread indicated by the indexes.

Pertius expresses confidence in its holdings in the energy sector despire recent large declines in oil prices. 


Anonymous said...

You really need to double check your articles before you post them. You didn't even get the name of the company correct even though you claim to be in regular contact with the portfolio manager. It's Peritus not Pertius. This article makes me seriously question how careful you are in your analysis of investments.

Lawrence Weinman said...

thanks, correction made. Hope to see comments on my analyses from you in the future