PIMCO raises bet against U.S. government debt

NEW YORK Tue May 10, 2011 8:52am EDT

William Gross, Manager of the world's biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO) participates in the Obama administration's Conference on the Future of Housing Finance in the Cash Room of the Treasury Building in Washington in this August 17, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Jason Reed

William Gross, Manager of the world's biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO) participates in the Obama administration's Conference on the Future of Housing Finance in the Cash Room of the Treasury Building in Washington in this August 17, 2010 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

NEW YORK (Reuters) - PIMCO's Bill Gross, the manager of the world's largest bond fund, raised his bet against U.S. government-related debt in April to 4 percent from 3 percent, according to the company's website on Monday.

The increase, albeit small, follows Gross' move to ratchet up his bearishness in March by taking his initial short position in U.S. government-related debt, which includes Treasuries, TIPS, agencies, interest rate swaps, Treasury futures and options and FDIC-guaranteed corporate securities.

The $240 billion Total Return fund also raised its cash position to 37 percent in April from 31 percent in March, added Pacific Investment Management Co, which oversees $1.2 trillion in assets.

The Total Return fund took down its mortgage exposure to 24 percent in April from 28 percent the previous month.

The fund also decreased its allocation in investment-grade credit to 17 percent in April from 18 percent in March and junk bonds to 5 percent in April from 6 percent the previous month.

For their part, emerging markets exposure increased to 11 percent of the Total Return portfolio, up from 10 percent in March, and municipal bonds unchanged at 4 percent month-over-month.

Last Friday, Gross told Reuters that the only way he would purchase Treasuries again is if the United States heads into another recession.

Since the news that Gross had turned more bearish on government debt, reflecting his growing worries over the country's fiscal deficit and debt burden, Treasury prices have been soaring.

Gross told Reuters on Friday: "Treasury yields are currently yielding substantially less than historical averages when compared with inflation. Perhaps the only justification for a further rally would be weak economic growth or a future recession that substantially lowered inflation and inflationary expectations."

(Editing by Andrew Hay, Gary Crosse)

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