BlackRock, Nuveen Snub Bonds for Stocks as Fed Rate Odds Rise

  • BlackRock says shares are better bet even as it cuts outlook
  • Bonds to lag behind stocks over six to 12 months, Nuveen says

BlackRock Inc. and Nuveen Asset Management are shunning bonds in favor of equities as the probability rises that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates in June or July.

Richard Turnill, BlackRock’s London-based global chief investment strategist, said shares are the better bet even though the company is downgrading its view of equities as they become more expensive. “We do prefer stocks to government bonds,” Turnill wrote Tuesday on the BlackRock website. The firm is the world’s biggest money manager, with about $4.6 trillion in assets.

Bob Doll, the chief equity strategist for Nuveen in Chicago, said the company is positive on equities. “They will outperform bonds and cash over the next six to 12 months,” he wrote Tuesday, also in a report on the company website. The parent company, Nuveen Investments, manages about $230 billion.

BlackRock’s Turnill said in March investors should have an “underweight” position in Treasuries, and they’ve been little changed since. Doll predicted Treasury yields would rise in 2016, and they’ve fallen so far. Both analysts wrote this week that expectations are increasing for a Fed move at the central bank’s policy meetings June 14-15 or July 26-27.

The Bloomberg U.S. Treasury Bond Index lost 0.1 percent this quarter as the U.S. economy expands enough to push the Fed toward raising rates. The S&P 500 Index of shares has returned 2.2 percent, the data show.

Treasuries advanced Wednesday, with the benchmark 10-year note yield falling two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 1.83 percent as of 6:59 a.m. in New York, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader data. The 1.625 percent security due in May 2026 rose 5/32, or $1.56 per $1,000 face amount, to 98 5/32.

To see how Treasuries performed in May as they prepared for the Fed to act, click here.

Data Wednesday will include two manufacturing reports and the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, its regional economic survey.

The odds of a rate shift in June implied by federal funds futures contracts were 24 percent as of Tuesday, climbing from 12 percent at the end of April. The probability of a move by year-end is 74 percent. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said May 27 improvement in the U.S. economy would warrant raising rates in the coming months.

“Futures market has reversed course recently following hawkish Fed commentary, including Yellen last Friday,” said Marius Daheim, a senior rates strategist at SEB AB in Frankfurt. “The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield could trade towards the 1.91, 1.92 percent zone again if data and speeches confirm chance of a summer hike.”

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