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ETF Spotlight on iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond Fund (NYSEARCA:AGG), part of a weekly series.

Assets: $11 billion

Objective: Tracks the Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Index

Holdings: AGG holds bonds across the spectrum; Treasury notes, Treasury bonds, corporate bonds, utilities, U.S. agencies and more

What You Should Know

  • In terms of total assets, AGG is one of the largest ETFs around
  • Has an expense ratio of 0.24% and 305 holdings
  • Thirty percent of the holdings have a maturity between 1-5 years; 0-1 year bonds are 25.1%; 5-10 year bonds are 30% and bonds 25 years and over are 12.1%
  • Most bonds in AGG -40% – are rated AAA by major ratings agencies
  • Although there’s increasing sentiment that bonds should be given the same attention to allocation as stocks, for investors who don’t wish to spend the time doing so, AGG can be a one-stop bond shop

The Latest News

  • Bond ETFs are best bought when the prices are low. But as with anything, it’s easier said than done. In doing so, you’ll get in when the yields are higher. Price appreciation is a better possibility this way and you collect a bigger cash payout relative to your investments.
  • Even we have sounded the alarm: fixed-income could get hit as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates. And that’s still true. But right now, it’s copacetic; there’s been a lot of bark with no bite yet in sight.
  • Yields continue to be appealing in certain areas. Long-term Treasuries will get beat in a higher interest rate environment, but short-term Treasuries and corporate bonds have been fine. Have an exit strategy in place if and when that changes, though.
  • Investors who are looking for income or for ways to mitigate risk will continue to find bonds to be an extremely appealing and efficient way to get access to the fixed-income space.
  • Bonds also help counter volatility while preserving capital, which is a nice aspect in these market conditions.
  • The distributions that come from bonds can help cushion the blows on the downside.
  • Bond ETFs possess tax efficiency, low costs and total transparency. They also provide a kind of exposure that would be cost-prohibitive otherwise.

Disclosure: None

Source: ETF Spotlight: iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG)