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A Tale of Two High-Yield ETFs


Investors have snapped up junk bond ETFs this year to boost yield but the funds can perform differently based on the credit quality of the debt they hold.

Bloomberg News reports that SPDR Barclays Capital High Yield Bond (JNK) is slightly outperforming  iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond (HYG) in 2012.

JNK is managed by State Street while HYG is sponsored by BlackRock’s iShares unit. They are the two largest high-yield ETFs. [High-Yield ETFs: Defaults Jump in August]

JNK is winning the performance battle this year “by buying riskier debt that’s outperforming the safest by the most since 2009,” Bloomberg reports.

Investors have added about $10 billion to high-yield bond ETFs this year, a record. [Are High-Yield Bond ETFs in a Bubble?]

“We’re seeing a significant growth in people who are using ETFs to create entire portfolios,” said Deborah Fuhr, co-founder of research firm ETFGI, in the report.

“Over longer periods, I would expect them to have very similar returns looking at net asset values,” added Timothy Strauts, an ETF analyst at Morningstar. “We’re going to need a little more time to figure out which one’s best.”

HYG has a 30-day SEC yield of 5.8%, compared with 6.1% for JNK.

SPDR Barclays Capital High Yield Bond

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own HYG and JNK.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of John Spence, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.