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Portfolio > ETFs > Broad Market

Gundlach: Time to Be ‘Defensive’ With Bonds

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DoubleLine Capital CEO & CIO Jeffrey Gundlach is glad football season is back. And the Buffalo Bills fan used a bit of sports lingo (and a touch of drama) on his quarterly call with investors Thursday.

“This is a big, big moment,” the fixed-income specialist said. “Interest rates have bottomed. They may not rise in the near term…, but I think it’s the beginning of something. And you’re supposed to be defensive.”

(Gundlach will be speaking at Schwab Impact 2016 on Oct. 28 in a session titled, ‘Ending the Monetary Experiment.)

Gundlach pointed to a low for the 10-year Treasury rate that failed to hold in July and explained that this rate could hit or surpass 2% by year-end.

He gave a few reasons for this scenario. First, both presidential candidates have pointed to spending on infrastructure.

“This idea that fiscal stimulus may be coming seems to be getting sniffed out by the bond market,” the DoubleLine executive said, and with more government borrowing, investors could push for higher yields.

“How can rates rise?” he asked. “That’s how they can rise, and they’re sort of rising already.”

Gundlach also pointed to the Federal Reserve’s apparent desire to raise rates despite weak purchasing data in manufacturing and services, as well as slowing gross domestic product growth.

“I think the Fed is irritated about this WIRP [World Interest Rate Probability] thing,” he explained. “The Fed is going to say ‘We are not controlled by the WIRP, we are not controlled by the market. We are going to tighten even if the WIRP is below 50.’”

He believes the Fed may tighten when WIRP, now at 28% for the Sept. 21 Fed meeting, moves to around 40-45%.

But by trying to show that it is independent from WIRP, the Fed may risk “blowing itself up,” Gundlach said.

“Clearly, it’s a bad environment to be raising rates,” he explained, noting that some Fed members are considering two rate hikes in 2016.

Putting a clear spin on what this means for investors, Gundlach cautioned them to get defensive in light of what he feels is a coming “bond unfriendly turn” in the markets.

As for corporate bonds, Gundlach said they are “highly overvalued,” and that investors would be better off in emerging markets.

Also, he feels that despite its recent fluctuations, gold should go to $1,400. He remains invested in gold miners and suggested that investors not move in and out of the sector. 


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