Morgan Stanley, Lazard Recommend Italian, Spanish Bonds

European bond investors from Lazard Asset Management and Pioneer Investments recommend investing in Italian and Spanish government debt this year.

“It’s risk-on with regard to peripheral bond markets,” Christian Eckert, head of European fixed income at Lazard, which oversees the equivalent of $9.7 billion, said today at the Euromoney Bond Investors Congress in London.

Italy’s 10-year government bond yields have jumped about 70 basis points since reaching 4.07 percent, the lowest in more that two years, on Jan. 25, as inconclusive elections threatened to derail austerity measures designed to control the nation’s debt and counter Europe’s financial crisis. They’re still almost 2 percentage points lower than they were in July, before European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged to do “whatever it takes” to hold the euro area together.

Glenn Hadden, head of European fixed income at Morgan Stanley, told the conference that he favors “investing in the policy” of the ECB to drive down the yields of the region’s peripheral debt.

At 5.06 percent, Spain’s 10-year bonds yield 362 basis points more than benchmark German bunds.

“The risk premium on peripherals is very competitive,” said Cosimo Marasciulo, head of government bonds and currencies at Pioneer. Buying the bonds of the nations is a “compelling” trade, though investors need to be wary of volatility, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lucy Meakin in London at lmeakin1@bloomberg.net; Emma Charlton in London at echarlton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Dobson at pdobson2@bloomberg.net

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