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BOND vs. ETF Alternatives
The PIMCO Total Return Exchange-Traded Fund (BOND) is a diversified portfolio of high quality bonds that is actively managed in an effort to maximize return in a risk-controlled framework. BOND invests primarily in investment grade debt securities, and discloses all portfolio holdings on a daily basis. The average portfolio duration normally varies within two years (plus or minus) of the benchmark Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Index, and the fund may not use options, futures or swaps. The fund offers a core bond strategy that is designed to capitalize on opportunities across multiple sectors of the fixed income market.
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Country: United States
Wednesday, Apr 22:55 PM
Wednesday, Apr 22:55 PM| Comment!
- "The reported 'great rotation' out of fixed-income seems to have been short-lived," writes Brian Rehling, chief fixed-income strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors. Short of an inflation scare - not on the horizon at the moment - he doesn't see investors exiting the sector en masse in the coming years.
- Worried about volatility and the fact that most bond funds and ETFs never mature (target-date ones don't)? Rehling suggests buying high-quality paper directly and creating bond ladders which allow cash to be received and then put back to work at potentially higher rates.
- ETFs: AGG, BOND, BND, BSV, BIV, BLV, SCHZ, LAG, SAGG, ILTB, GVI, GBF, ISTB, MINC, FWDB, GIY
Wednesday, Apr 210:53 AM
Wednesday, Apr 210:53 AM| Comment!
- Investors pulled $3.1B from Pimco's Total Return Fund in March, the 11th straight month of outflows, and bringing exits YTD up to $8.2B for the mutual fund now with AUM of $232B. The far-smaller ETF version is BOND.
- The outflows come as Gross' cold hand continues, with Total Return trailing 95% of peers by losing 0.57% in March. The benchmark Barclays Aggregate Bond Index (AGG) lost 0.17%. Over longer time frames, however, Gross' fund remains the standard.
- Pimco parent Allianz (AZSEY -0.1%)
Monday, Mar 311:04 PM|Monday, Mar 311:04 PM| Comment!
Friday, Mar 2812:07 PM
Friday, Mar 2812:07 PM| 7 Comments
- The world's biggest bond mutual fund (ETF version: BOND) had a YTD total return of 1.28% through Thursday, according to Morningstar, trailing 87% of its peers. The benchmark Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index (ETF: AGG) returned 2.03%.
- Already keeping a close eye on Gross' performance following 2013's 1.92% loss - the worst performance since 1994 - investors have been shaken by the ugly divorce between Pimco and Mohamed El-Erian.
- Longer-term: Total Return has averaged a total return of 6.91% over the past five years, beating 55% of peers and the benchmark return of 4.89%. Its 6.6% average return over the past 15 years beat 96% of peers.
- The Total Return Fund had $41B of outflows in 2013, with investors pulling another $5.1B in this year's first two months. Pimco parent Allianz (AZSEY -0.7%) continues to struggle alongside its cash cow. It's off 7.6% YTD.
Wednesday, Mar 263:06 PM
Wednesday, Mar 263:06 PM| 1 Comment
- Private pension funds and insurance companies - their equity exposure rising along with stock market - have returned to the long end of the curve this year to rebalance their portfolios, says JPMorgan Private Bank CIO Richard Madigan, helping to support prices as Fed dials back QE.
- Madigan didn't and doesn't expect a "great rotation" from fixed income to equities, instead arguing the boost in equity inflows has come and will come at the expense of too-high cash balances. Why own fixed income? Bonds continue in their role of buffering other investment risk in portfolios.
- "In the middle of everything lies opportunity," said Einstein. We're mid-cycle in the global recovery, says Madigan, maybe frustrating those late to invest, but still offering plenty of opportunity.
- ETFs: AGG, BOND, BND, BSV, BIV, BLV, SCHZ, LAG, SAGG, ILTB, DI, GVI, ISTB, GBF, LDUR, MINC, FWDB, AGND, GIY, AGZD
Thursday, Mar 204:42 PM
Thursday, Mar 204:42 PM| 9 Comments
- It turns out it was three, not two lined up to be deputy CIOs to Bill Gross amid the departure of Mohamed El-Erian. One - Marc Seidner - resigned in January just hours before he was to be publicly announced in his new position. Seidner - who followed El-Erian to Pimco in 2009 - reportedly had found working there increasingly difficult over the last 18 months, with Gross becoming "increasingly illogical and irrational."
- In other news Pimco has lost a $1.3B bond fund mandate to TCW.
- Pimco's parent: Allianz (AZSEY)
- Among Pimco's closed-end offerings are: PTY, PDI, PMF, PGP, PKO, PFL, PFN, PCN, PCM, PHK, RCS, PMF, PML. There's also the ETF version of Bill Gross' Total Return Fund: BOND.
Wednesday, Mar 1912:22 PM
Wednesday, Mar 1912:22 PM| 21 Comments
- “There is a heightened level of uncertainty in the post El-Erian era surrounding the questions of whether Pimco’s latest senior staffing transitions will prove beneficial to investors [and] whether recent and future senior-level departures indicate a persistent side effect of the firm’s pressure-cooker culture," says analyst Eric Jacobsen cutting Pimco's "stewardship" rating to C from B and the "parent pillar score" - which examines manager turnover, investment culture, and fee levels - to Neutral from Positive.
- It's not automatic, but look for the big-picture rating changes to quickly filter through to the ratings of individual Pimco funds, says Morningstar.
- Among Pimco's closed-end offerings are PTY, PDI, PMF, PGP, PKO, PFL, PFN, PCN, PCM, PHK, RCS, PMF, PML. There's also the ETF version of Bill Gross' Total Return Fund: BOND.
- Pimco parent Allianz SE (AZSEY -2%)
Thursday, Mar 1310:23 AM
Thursday, Mar 1310:23 AM| Comment!
- A nice bull move in fixed-income wasn't a help for Pimco, which saw $2.5B in outflows in February, making it the only one among the top 10 asset management firms to see an exodus of cash. The Gross/El-Erian soap opera isn't helping, but neither is weak performance. Notably losing money was Pimco's High Yield Fund which saw $510M leave while its competitors racked up gains.
- Bill Gross' Total Return Fund (ETF equivalent: BOND) saw $1.6B in outflows in February to add to $3.5B in January, not to mention last year's big exits.
- Pimco is owned by Allianz (AZSEY +0.5%).
Friday, Mar 75:22 AM
Friday, Mar 75:22 AM| 18 Comments
- Bill Gross has accused departing Pimco (BOND) CEO Mohamed El-Erian of "trying to undermine" him, telling Reuters that he has evidence that El-Erian "wrote" a recent WSJ article that described the breakdown in the men's relationship and didn't portray Gross in a particularly flattering light.
- When asked what the evidence was, Gross replied: "You're on his side. Great, he's got you, too, wrapped around his charming right finger."
- Gross also indicated that he has monitored El-Erian's phone calls.
- A Pimco spokesman later denied that Gross made the comments that Reuters attributes to him, while the WSJ hotly refuted that El-Erian "wrote" the article.
- Pimco's parent company is Allianz (AZSEY).
- Pimco funds: AUD, BABZ, BUND, CAD, CORP, DI, FIVZ, FORX, GOVY
Thursday, Mar 63:08 PM
Thursday, Mar 63:08 PM| 19 Comments
- Typically making up 20-25% of Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A, BRK.B) insurance units' investment holdings ($186.8B AUM), fixed-income assets dropped to just 14% as of the end of the year. Stocks account for $114.8B of the holdings. Cash of $48.2B is up from $47B a year ago and $30.6B at the end of 2009, and of the fixed-income the units do hold, there's a decided tilt away from duration.
- Investment income in the insurance units was $3.7B in 2013, but this could drop as nice-yielding deals with Mars, Inc, Swiss Re, Goldman, and GE wound down and Buffett has only been able to replace a portion of that money with equally lucrative plays (i.e., Heinz). “Investment opportunities currently available will likely generate considerably lower yields ... We continue to hold significant cash and cash equivalents earning very low yields.”
- Broad fixed-income ETFs: AGG, BOND, BND, BSV, BIV, BLV, SCHZ, LAG, SAGG, ILTB, GVI, ISTB, GBF, DI, LDUR, MINC, FWDB, GIY, AGND, AGZD
Tuesday, Mar 48:21 AM
Tuesday, Mar 48:21 AM| Comment!
- Permanently on the whiteboard of Pimco's Investment Committee boardroom is its concentric circles of asset classes, with the Fed Funds rate occupying the center and stocks and real estate far on the outside. "Change the price of credit at the center and you change the price of assets at the outer extremities," writes Bill Gross.
- Risk assets may be high-priced, but they're not necessarily mis-priced as long as ZIRP continues. Key, says Gross, drawing on Yeats' "Second Coming," is whether the center holds, i.e. can investors be convinced of the Fed's credibility as it shifts from a quantitative to qualitative assessment of whether to tighten policy.
- "Artificial prices will not be mis-priced if circling falcons can be convinced of the efficacy of qualitative forward guidance. We believe that will be the case. Carry trades, then, in numerous forms should be profitable."
- Redemptions from Gross' Total Return Fund (ETF version: BOND) slowed to $1.6B in February, the slowest pace of outflows since the bond market blew up last May.
- Broad fixed-income ETFs: AGG, BOND, BND, BSV, BIV, BLV, SCHZ, LAG, SAGG, ILTB, GVI, ISTB, GBF, MINC, FWDB, GIY, AGND, AGZD
Monday, Mar 39:37 AM
Monday, Mar 39:37 AM| 1 Comment
- “I’ve been talking with clients and writing about how the housing market is overvalued,” says Pimco's Ed Devlin, who oversees Canadian investments for the firm. “The change this year would be that I actually think it starts this year.”
- Bill Gross' $237B Total Return Fund (ETF version: BOND) had about 2% of its portfolio in Canadian debt at last report vs. 4% a year earlier.
- Not the first to point to a bubbly Canadian housing market, Devlin is looking for a gradual decline over the next 2-5 years, not a sudden collapse, and sees "buy the dip" opportunities in the loonie (FXC) which has already fallen sharply vs. the greenback over the last 18 months.
- ETFs: EWC, CNDA, FCAN, EWCS
Friday, Feb 288:45 PM|Friday, Feb 288:45 PM| 1 Comment
Friday, Feb 2811:41 AM
Friday, Feb 2811:41 AM| Comment!
- A trading floor doesn't thrive on "sweet talking," says Bill Gross (BOND), responding in the WSJ to an earlier Journal report painting The Bond King as a martinet.
- The back and forth comes amid the departure of Mohamed El-Erian - previously Gross' heir apparent - from Pimco. Michael Diekmann - CEO of Pimco parent Allainz (AZSEY) - says he's "very happy" with Pimco's new management structure and sees no reason to meddle in its U.S. cash cow.
- "It's like dealing with family - you don't always produce a productive family by sweet talking and always being inclusive," says Gross. "There's a time for soft love and time for hard love.…I can admit to both." The recent management shuffle at Pimco means more power-sharing at the top, says Gross. "It's a huge change."
- Incoming Pimco CEO Doug Hodge says he's fielded a few calls this week, but it's mostly been "remarkably quiet ... They hire us not because it's happy talk around here but because we deliver performance."
- See also: Matthew Klein's defense of Gross
Tuesday, Feb 253:33 PM
Tuesday, Feb 253:33 PM| 1 Comment
- "Many successful businessmen tend to be eccentric characters," writes Bloomberg's Matthew Klein, taking issue with Felix Salmon's call for Bill Gross (BOND) to hang it up after today's account from the WSJ about the goings-on at Pimco amid the Mohamed El-Erian departure.
- The scoreboard matters, and Gross' Total Return Fund has beaten its benchmark nearly every year since forever. "If anything, this performance helped subsidize the rest of the company by convincing investors that some of Pimco's other products were also worth investing in." A thoughtful economist and erudite man, El-Erian simply doesn't have Gross' trading chops. The fund at Pimco he's most associated with - the Multi-Asset Fund - has returned an average of 5.4% annually since 2008 inception, putting it near the bottom of its category.
- "I'd be shocked if clients hadn't known about Gross' quirks long before the recent Journal article," concludes Klein, reminding of Steve Jobs who was also notoriously difficult on those around him in the workplace.
Tuesday, Feb 257:23 AM
Tuesday, Feb 257:23 AM| 14 Comments
- "I have a 41-year track record of investing excellence," Bill Gross (BOND) told Mohamed El-Erian last summer according to 2 witnesses, reports the WSJ of the events leading to El-Erian's upcoming departure from Pimco. "What do you have." "I'm tired of cleaning up your s---," responded El-Erian.
- The article depicts Gross, a naval officer in the Vietnam War, as something of a martinet - not liking employees speaking with him or making eye contact, especially in the morning, preferring silence on the trading floor, and not appreciating dissent once he's made up his mind about an investment.
- "If only Mohamed would let me, I could run all the $2 trillion myself…I'm Secretariat" said Gross last year in front of a group of traders. "Why would you bet on anyone other than Secretariat?"
- "There is no way for Gross to recover from this article. He knows it too," writes Felix Salmon, calling the piece a "fatal blow to the career of the greatest bond investor of all-time."
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