For all the talk of the end of the bond bull market and higher rates, investors should not be shocked if their fixed income allocations make them a little money in the coming months.
"Fixed income returns may very well continue to surprise investors on the upside due to the combination of stable rates, roll-down, generous credit spreads that may compress further, and relative value opportunities," said Mike Collins, portfolio manager for the Prudential Total Return Bond Fund (PDBAX) - Get Report .
The Prudential Total Return Bond Fund is up 7.3% thus far in 2016, according to Morningstar. The $18.9 billion fund has returned an average of 4.4% annually over the past three years, outpacing 91% of its rivals in Morningstar's intermediate-term category. The fund sports a trailing 12 month yield of 2.6%, according to Morningstar.
Collins said global growth is likely to remain sluggish due to aging populations and the global debt overhang. As a result, he said central banks are likely to remain accommodative, albeit less so on the margin, as the efficacy of low and even negative interest rates is increasingly being called into question. Developed government interest rates will remain range-bound at low levels, in his view.
"The global credit cycle is more incongruous than in past cycles, largely as a result of the harsh regulatory environment," said Collins, adding that credit spreads are "fairly valued to attractive" depending on the sector.
As to which sectors he favors, Collins is overweight U.S. banks and select long maturity corporates. He also favors high-quality high yield, bank loans, and top of the capital structure asset-backed securities, including CLOs, CMBS and non-agency RMBS.
Finally, he said he is selectively investing in emerging market sovereign securities, while staying underweight highly rated industrials, which he deems too pricey.