BOSTON (TheStreet) -- The debt ceiling drama unfolding on Capitol Hill has sparked worries that the U.S. could default on its debt. One market strategist urges investors to understand that the debate over spending cuts vs. tax increases shows America's unwillingness to pay its debt, rather than the country's inability.Kathy Jones, fixed income strategist with Charles Schwab, says that investors should not worry about the ability of the U.S. to pay its debt when considering fixed-income assets like U.S. Treasuries. She makes a clear distinction between what the U.S. can do and what the country is willing to do, and how that separates the country from other cash-strapped nations around the globe.
But in June, after he was hammered for missing this year's rally in Treasuries, Gross increased the fund's allocation to the asset class to 8% from 5%. In an op-ed in Thursday's Washington Post, Gross addresses the debt-ceiling battle by urging regulators to "raise it unencumbered if necessary." "Pimco owns very few Treasury securities, and its clients would theoretically benefit if yields rose on an under-owned asset class that was technically in default," Gross wrote. "But default would still be a huge negative for the U.S. and global financial markets, introducing fear and unnecessary volatility into the economy and global trade. The market situation might resemble what happened after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008." Schwab's Jones highlights the risk that the cost of borrowing for the U.S. government will rise in the event of a default. "It doesn't mean it will rise permanently or significantly, depending on how this business plays out in Washington," she says. "But whether it's your credit score as an individual, or credit rating of a company or a credit rating of a sovereign government, if it drops, your borrowing costs go up." For individual investors looking for guidance during this time of uncertainty, Jones assures that the 10-year Treasury is still safe, "although we can argue about whether the yield is attractive or not for a long-term investor." Jones recommends that individual investors should keep a ladder portfolio "so they stretch maturities out over the yield curve, and you're not committing to one particular place. You'll have the longer-term securities that provide you income and short-term ones that you can roll over should rates rise." For those investors looking for a little extra yield, Jones says they should consider high-grade, investment-grade corporate bonds. "They'll yield somewhat over Treasurys and they'll typically have very attractive credit ratings," she says. "The corporate sector has a lot of cash on the balance sheet and are in pretty good shape fundamentally, so a lot of investment-grade bonds are very attractive." -- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Robert Holmes. >To follow Robert Holmes on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/RobTheStreet.
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