July 31, 2018 / 8:02 PM / 10 months ago

DoubleLine's Gundlach: Short-maturity U.S. Treasuries look attractive

Jeffrey Gundlach, CEO of DoubleLine Capital LP, presents during the 2018 Sohn Investment Conference in New York City, U.S., April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive of DoubleLine Capital, said on Tuesday that short-maturity U.S. Treasuries “look as good” relative to stocks and long-maturing bonds than they have in a long time.

Gundlach, known as Wall Street’s Bond King, said the tariff threat pulls U.S. economic growth forward, as reflected in second quarter gross domestic product, but “growth moving ahead will be incrementally weaker.”

There should also be higher measured inflation as a result of any tariff implementation, Gundlach said. That should mean a steeper Treasury yield curve, though not necessarily in the near term, he added.

Gundlach, who oversees $121 billion in assets under management, said he likes front-pay RMBS (residential mortgage-backed securities) and floating rate CMBS (commercial mortgage-backed securities).

“There’s almost no risk and higher yield than the long bond and about double the dividend yield of the SPX,” said Gundlach, referring to the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY.P). Front-pay RMBS is securitized non-agency RMBS that is tranched sequentially. The front pay is paid first, so the security has a short average life.

Gundlach, closely watched by investors for his bold and often prescient market calls, made waves in April at the Sohn Investment Conference when he recommended a pair trade of shorting, or betting against, Facebook Inc (FB.O) while betting on gains in an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks oil-and-gas explorers and producers who could benefit from rising inflation.

Last week, Facebook shares plunged more than 20 percent as the social network missed projections on revenue and global daily active users this quarter after struggling with data leaks and fake news scandals.

In April, Gundlach said the worst likely is not over for Facebook, saying it is not unprecedented for equity bubbles being ended by regulation. Facebook’s strengths are being redefined as weaknesses, he said. “We hear the good things about Facebook, which is 2.2 billion users,” Gundlach said. “I hear 2.2 billion compliance breaches.”

Gundlach said about last week’s Facebook second-quarter earnings results: “The fundamentals today are no different than they were April 23rd. It is the interpretation that has changed. Exactly what I talked about in my (Sohn) presentation. And I expect the interpretation will get far worse.”

Reporting By Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Chris Reese

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