4 Junk Bond ETFs Your Broker Forgot to Mention (SJNK, IHY, EMHY)
It's the epitome of a catch-22: ETFs tracking non-investment grade bonds, also known as junk bonds, have become enormously popular with investors because of their robust yields. In this era of depressed interest rates, who could blame an income investor for entertaining the idea of taking one some added risk in pursuit of yields that are often north of 6% or 7%?
The catch-22 comes in the form of the aforementioned added risk, which can mean a variety of unsavory issues including liquidity concerns, share creation issues, significant discounts to an ETF's net asset value and outright underperformance.
That's right. Investors that are taking on the potential risks of a junk bond ETF may be compensated with yield, but these days it sure looks like investor inflows are outpacing the returns offered by these ETFs.
The iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (NYSE: HYG) and the SPDR Barclays Capital High Yield Bond ETF (NYSE: JNK) are home to $14.9 billion and $11.8 billion in assets under management, respectively. Year-to-date, the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY) has offered nearly quadruple the returns of JNK and almost seven times the returns offered by HYG.
Even with those warning flags, the number of junk bond ETFs continues to proliferate. Sometimes, it's a matter of "if you build it, they will come" with ETF sponsors and investors and those willing to incur the risks of these ETFs might want to consider some other funds besides the stalwarts of HYG and JNK. Here are some junk bond ETFs your broker probably forgot to mention.
SPDR Barclays Capital Short Term High Yield Bond ETF (NYSE: SJNK) The SPDR Barclays Capital Short Term High Yield Bond ETF debuted six weeks ago as the short-term cousin to JNK. In those six weeks, SJNK has proven to be just one more example of how much investors love junk bond ETFs as the fund has raked in almost $60 million in AUM.
SJNK, which charges an expense ratio of 0.4%, same as JNK, tracks dollar-denominated non-investment grade junk bonds that have a remaining maturity of less than 5 years regardless of optionality. SJNK's index only tracks corporate issues from the financial services, industrials and utilities sectors. SJNK has a current yield of 7.9%.
Market Vectors Fallen Angel High Yield Bond ETF (NYSE: ANGL) This little ANGL debuted earlier this month and has already attracted $10.1 million in AUM and the new fund has a little something different to offer compared to the usual junk bond funds. So-called fallen angel companies are typically large, familiar companies that have lost investment-grade status where as many companies issuing high-yield bonds are smaller, more obscure and have never had investment-grade status.
As Benzinga reported earlier this month, ANGL's index has performed well over the past eight years and nearly a third of fallen angels find their way to investment -grade status. ANGL also has fees of 0.4%.
Market Vectors International High Yield Bond ETF (NYSE: IHY) Another new addition to the junk bond ETF party, the Market Vectors International High Yield Bond ETF debuted on April 3 and is off to a fine start with almost $20 million in AUM. IHY, which is expected to pay a monthly dividend, features issues denominated in Euros, U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars or pound sterling issued in the major domestic or Eurobond markets.
Yield data isn't available yet for IHY, but when the fund debuted, Van Eck said the index IHY tracks had a yield of 8.3%. With an expense ratio of 0.4%, a third of IHY's holdings are emerging markets fare.
iShares Emerging Markets High Yield Bond Fund (BATS: IMHY) Risk-takers might love the iShares Emerging Markets High Yield Bond Fund, which obviously focuses on non-investment grade EM bonds. IMHY debuted the same day as IHY, but features higher fees at 0.65%. While it should be noted that almost 11% of the new fund's weight is allocated to the U.S., this ETF does not skimp on allocations to markets that most investors would consider risky.
Venezuela is IMHY's top country weight at over 14% while Nigeria, Lebanon, Ukraine and Hungary are also found among the top-10 country weights.
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