Nontraditional bond mutual funds and ETFs had a tough month in January, losing 1.13% on average. This extended the category's one-year losses through January 31 to -2.57%, consisting of -2.76% alpha and a -0.47 beta, relative to the Barclays US Aggregate Bond Total Return USD Index. Mutual funds and ETFs in the category averaged a -0.66 Sharpe ratio for the year ending January 31, with volatility of 3.53%.
The nontraditional bond fund category is a mixed bag of long/short credit funds, non-traditional income funds and unconstrained bond funds. In total, there are 150 funds (only 63 have a track record of 3 years or more) in the category and $129.3 billion of assets. Below is a look at the top and bottom performers for January.
Top Performers in January
The three best-performing nontraditional bond funds in January were:
NTBAX was the top-performing nontraditional bond fund in January, posting gains of 2.38%. This was enough to push the fund's one-year returns through January 31 into the black, at +0.34%. These returns consisted of 0.49% alpha and a 0.76 beta, yielding a Sharpe ratio of 0.09 with standard deviation (volatility) of 3.90%.
BTFAX ranked second for the month, with gains of 2.00%. Its one-year returns, however, remained in the red at -0.16%, with -0.02% alpha and a 0.65 beta. BFTAX's one-year Sharpe ratio stood at -0.04 through January 31, with annualized volatility of 4.15%.
Finally, CPATX was the month's third-best performing nontraditional bond fund in January, with gains of 1.31%. Its 12-month returns through January 31 stood at +2.10%, with 2.09% of alpha and a low 0.15 beta. CPTAX's Sharpe ratio of 0.60 was by far the best of any fund reviewed this month, and its 3.41% volatility was the lowest.
Bottom Performers in January
The three worst-performing nontraditional bond funds in January were:
FXDAX was January's worst-performing nontraditional bond fund, with its shares falling 5.17% for the month. Through January 31, FXDAX's one-year returns stood at -9.82%, consisting of -10.50% alpha and a -1.59 beta. This gave the fund a one-year Sharpe ratio of -1.60, with annualized volatility of 6.33%.
PDINX, the month's second-worst performer at -4.83%, also had bad-looking one-year numbers. Its losses of 5.47% were made up of -5.86% alpha and a -2.05 beta, yielding a -0.76 Sharpe ratio and 7.15% volatility.
Although it outperformed FXDAX and PDINX in January, DRSLX looked worst of all over the year ending January 31. In those 12 months, the fund lost 11.18%, with -11.97% alpha and a -1.55 beta. Its one-year Sharpe ratio stood at -1.70, and its annual volatility was 6.85%. Even over three- and five-year terms, DRSLX was down an annualized 4.58% and 1.66%, respectively.
Past performance does not necessarily predict future results.
Jason Seagraves contributed to this article.
Note: The MPT benchmark used for the above calculations was the Barclays US Aggregate Bond Total Return USD Index.
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