After drifting lower in December, the bond market drifted higher in January. Corporates turned in the best showing, with two-point gains fairly typical. Municipals were up 1 1/2 points while Long T-bonds moved up about a point. Yields declined 20 to 40 basis points, depending on the type of security.
A 12% annual compound growth rate can be locked in through the purchase of Treasury “Zeros.” Over 23 years this is a government guaranteed 1250%+ total return. In this extended research piece, risk is evaluated and the mechanics of creating and buying Zero bonds are discussed. Frankly, we were astounded by the results of this study.
Merrill Lynch was first but the rush is on, stripping existing T-Bonds of their coupons, repackaging and selling coupons and principal separately. While perhaps priced too high for sharp pencil pushers, to us they look like a very good investment. Corporate “zeros” should, however, be viewed very cautiously.
Dedicated portfolios, TIGR types, long-term bond buy and holders and bond traders soaking up the government financing like so many sponges. For long-term T-Bonds at least, the demand may be greater than the supply for a while, creating a premium situation. It’s hard to believe a T-Bond could become an investment rarity, but these are strange times.