Masters of Equities Universe Are Unfazed by Spike in Bond Yields
The recent rise in interest rates triggered a bout of volatility, but it’s not making the pros in the stock market run for the hills just yet.
Some of the world’s biggest fund managers say equities can persevere and continue rallying through the rise in government bond yields. They are focusing instead on prospects for a powerful economic and profit recovery.
In an informal Bloomberg News survey of more than 50 market players, most respondents including State Street Global Advisors and JPMorgan Asset Management said they’re monitoring the pace of the ascent in yields -- and the reasons for it -- rather than awaiting a particular level that will mark a breaking point for stocks. As long as central banks stick to accommodative policies, the equity bull run can power ahead, these investors say.
“Absent a shift in central banks’ thinking, we don’t think yields will rise to a level where it broadly hurts equities,” said Hugh Gimber, a London-based global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “Provided the Fed sticks to guidance, and remains comfortable, willing to look through any temporary spike in inflation, I don’t see an environment where yields are rising in a way that’s problematic for equities broadly.”
The surge in government bond yields over the past month helped fuel an exit from the frothier parts of the market such as technology and defensive shares, leading to a dip of as much 11% in the Nasdaq 100. But the vaccination push in major economies and bets on a recovery in economic growth as well as consumer spending are filling equity bulls with confidence that they can keep reaping returns despite higher interest rates.
At the same time, the pick-up in yields and the more than 70% rally in stocks from pandemic lows are pushing fund managers to become more selective. The likes of Manulife Investment Management and HSBC Asset Management say that, while this isn’t the time to exit equities, the selloff in bonds will accelerate the rotation out of the more expensive growth parts of the market and into cheaper and laggard equities that can benefit from the economic recovery.