UPDATE 1-DoubleLine's Gundlach: junk bond market is 'not cheap' even after sell-off

Fri Aug 8, 2014 5:00pm EDT

(Adds more quotes from Gundlach; byline)

By Jennifer Ablan

Aug 8 (Reuters) - DoubleLine Capital's Jeffrey Gundlach said on Friday that the junk bond market is "not cheap," even after its recent sell-off.

Investors pulled a record $7.1 billion from U.S.-based junk bond funds in the latest week, according to Lipper data released on Thursday.

The outflows, the biggest since Lipper records began in 1992, came as high-yield bonds delivered a negative total return of 1.42 percent in the week ended Aug. 1, their worst weekly performance in more than two years.

"You probably had some people who got their statements in the mail and saw that junk bond prices can go down, and said, "I'm getting out now," Gundlach said in a telephone interview. "But I don't see a mass exodus from the junk bond market."

The yield premium investors demand for holding these low-rated bonds shot up by 0.50 percentage point to more than 4.2 percentage points above comparable U.S. Treasury debt. Just over a month ago, that spread had been as low as 3.35 percentage points, the smallest since 2007.

Gundlach, who as co-founder and chief investment officer at DoubleLine helps oversee $52 billion in assets, said: "The junk bond market is not cheap."

Gundlach is widely followed for his investment calls including a bet earlier this year that Treasuries were undervalued relative to other sectors.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was 2.42 percent on Friday, down from around 3 percent at the start of the year. Bond yields move inversely to their prices.

In June, in an investor webcast, Gundlach said the 10-year U.S. Treasury note will likely yield 2.20 percent to 2.80 percent during the second half of the year.

"I don't see any real reason for higher rates in the U.S.," Gundlach said. "Bonds are killing it." (Reporting By Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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