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Treasury ETFs in Focus as Yields Spike

The U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury yields increased to a five-and-a-half-month high as strong equity market performance contributed to investor risk appetite. Moreover, talks of a hawkish Fed chair being the Republican favorite and ECB meeting pressure weighed on bond prices. Bond yields and prices move inverse to each other (read: ETFs & Stocks Gaining from S&P 500's Record Run).


Fed Chair Talks Moving the Market


Stanford University economist John Taylor, a prospective candidate for the Fed chairman, is said to have emerged as the favorite to replace Fed Chair Janet Yellen among the Republican senators. Per a Bloomberg report, Republican senator Tim Scott said that the economist secured maximum support from Senate Republicans when President Donald Trump asked for their opinions by a show of hands on who should assume the post.


However, per a Financial Times article, citing PredictIt betting market data, Jerome Powell, a Fed board member still remains the favorite. Although Taylor’s chances jumped from 17% to 31%, Powell remains the most likely candidate to win with 53%. Powell is seen as a candidate who will not steer much from the current Fed policy and is regarded as a centrist.


ECB meeting and Equity Market Rally


Euro zone bond yields saw an increase on market expectations of the European Central Bank announcing a reduction in its monthly monetary stimulus in its next meeting scheduled for Oct 26, 2017. This led to a reduction in interest in bond investing, thus creating pressure on Treasury prices.


Republicans advanced on the tax reform plan promised by Trump. On Oct 19, the Senate passed a budget of $4 trillion in a 51-49 vote, which will allow the Republicans to move ahead with the tax cuts. The tax reform is expected to significantly boost earnings. Moreover, the third-quarter earnings season so far has been impressive. This led to a rally in the stock markets as investors grew more optimistic about Trump delivering on his campaign promises (read: 5 Biggest ETF Winners of Trump Trade Resurgence).


Let us now discuss a few ETFs focused on providing exposure to U.S. Treasuries (see all Government Bond ETFs here).


iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF IEF


This fund seeks to provide exposure to intermediate term U.S. Treasury bonds.


With $7.5 billion in AUM, it charges a fee of 15 basis points a year. It has an effective duration of 7.52 years and a weighted average maturity of 8.27 years. The fund has returned 1.0% year to date but has lost 4.4% in a year (as of Oct 24, 2017). IEF currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a High-risk outlook.


iShares U.S. Treasury Bond ETF GOVT


This fund seeks to provide exposure to U.S. Treasury bonds in a wide-maturity spectrum.


It has AUM of $5.4 billion and charges a fee of 15 basis points a year. It has an effective duration of 5.97 years and a weighted average maturity of 7.50 years. The fund has returned 0.7% year to date but has lost 2.9% in a year (as of Oct 24, 2017). GOVT currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a Medium-risk outlook.


Vanguard Intermediate-Term Government Bond ETF VGIT


This fund seeks to provide exposure to U.S. Treasury bonds in the five-10 years maturity spectrum.


It has AUM of $1.4 billion and charges a fee of 7 basis points a year. It has an average duration of 5.2 years and an average effective maturity of 5.5 years. The fund has returned 0.6% year to date but has lost 3.0% in a year (as of Oct 24, 2017). VGIT currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a Medium-risk outlook.


iShares 10-20 Year Treasury Bond ETF TLH


This fund seeks to provide exposure to long- term U.S. Treasury bonds in the 10-20 year maturity horizon.


It has AUM of $528.7 million and charges a fee of 15 basis points a year. It has an effective duration of 10.22 years and a weighted average maturity of 13.81 years. The fund has returned 1.9% year to date but has lost 5.0% in a year (as of Oct 24, 2017). TLH currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a High-risk outlook.


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ISHARS-7-10YTB (IEF): ETF Research Reports
 
VANGD-IT GOV BD (VGIT): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-US TB (GOVT): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-10-20YTB (TLH): ETF Research Reports
 
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