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BlackRock Says it Favors Italian, Spanish Debt Over Bunds

BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest fund manager with $3.67 trillion in assets, said it favors Italian and Spanish debt over bonds from so-called core countries such as Germany.

The fund’s preferences are contained within its 2013 investment strategy, which has been framed mindful that there is “danger in safety and income is king,” Rick Rieder, the firm’s chief investment officer of fundamental fixed-income, told a media briefing in London.

Italian and Spanish securities have rallied since European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged in September to buy the bonds of debt-laden euro-area governments to help keep their borrowing costs down.

Italian bonds handed investors a 19 percent gain this year, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes. Those of Spain returned 4.6 percent, compared with a 4.2 percent gain from German bunds.

The yield on Italian 10-year bonds fell eight basis points, or 0.08 percentage point, to 4.64 percent at 5 p.m. London time. The rate on similar-maturity Spanish debt dropped 10 basis points to 5.37 percent.

BlackRock also favors high-yielding and emerging-market debt as well as the U.S. dollar.

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