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  • Michael Rosen Michael Rosen
  • Investment Insights are written by Angeles' CIO Michael Rosen

    Michael has more than 30 years experience as an institutional portfolio manager, investment strategist, trader and academic.


Published: 10-27-2014

In our long-term assumptions, we generally assume that the total return in fixed income is pretty close to its starting yield. That’s because a bond’s total return is a function of two variables: yield and re-investment yield. As yields move up and down, bond prices move inversely, down and up, but the re-investment rate moves positively with yields. In the short-term, changes in prices have a large impact on total return, but given enough time, the re-investment yield (almost) completely offsets the price/yield function.

The table below (courtesy Morgan Stanley), shows the effect of interest rates rising from 3% to 8% at 50 basis points a year over 10 years. The total return over this decade works out mathematically to 3%, (not) coincidentally the starting yield.

There are risks to owning bonds, primarily higher inflation, and to a lesser extent default risk. But the laws of mathematics make us highly confident that the long-term nominal return for bond investors will be right around today’s yield.


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