Treasury Yields at New 7-Year High: ETF Strategies to Play

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Rising rate concerns have been prevailing from the start of this year. Upbeat economic growth and higher inflationary expectations have already driven the benchmark treasury yields to 3% and went on to score even higher on Oct 4 to touch a fresh seven-year high .

Rising yields will cause selloffs in both equity and bond markets. On Oct 4, SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPYSPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF ( DIA )Invesco QQQ ETF QQQ and  iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF TLT lost 0.8%, 0.6%, 1.9% and 0.7%, respectively.

The surge in U.S. Treasury yields had a ripple effect globally. Most euro zone bond yields reacted to the rise on Thursday, and shot up to " their highest levels in months in some cases." The region's benchmark 10-year bund yield from Germany touched a four-and-half month high.

Given this, investors must be interested in finding all possible strategies to weather a sudden jump in the U.S. Treasury yields. For them, below we highlighted a few investing tricks that could gift investors with gains in a rising rate environment.

Tap Regional Banks

Financial stocks are the direct beneficiaries of a rise in long-term bond yields. This time too, there is no exception. Large-cap financial ETF  Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF  XLF added about 0.7% on Oct 3, 2018. We can also choose regional bank ETFs like  SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF KRE as these have a tilt toward smaller-cap stocks and are mainly focused on the U.S. economy. Since banks borrow money at short-term rates and lend the capital at long-term rates, the latest spike in long-term bond yields bode well for these ETFs.

Go Short With Rate-Sensitive Sectors

Needless to say, sectors that perform well in a low interest rate environment and offer higher yield, may falter when rates rise. Since real estate and utilities are such sectors, it is better to go for inverse REIT or utility ETFs.  ProShares UltraShort Real Estate SRS and ProShares Short Real Estate REK are such inverse ETFs that could be wining bets in a rising rate environment.

Still Want Bond Exposure? Look at These ETFs

Floating rate notes are investment grade bonds that do not pay a fixed rate to investors but have variable coupon rates that are often tied to an underlying index (such as LIBOR) plus a variable spread depending on the credit risk of the issuers. Since the coupons of these bonds are adjusted periodically, they are less sensitive to an increase in rates compared to traditional bonds (read:  Hedge Rising Rates with Floating Rate ETFs ).

Unlike fixed coupon bonds, these do not lose value when rates go up, making the notes ideal for protecting investors against capital erosion in a rising rate environment.  iShares Floating Rate Bond FLOT is a good bet in this context.

Another option in this space is to tap bank loan ETFs like  Highland/iBoxx Senior Loan ETF  SNLN . Senior loans, also known as leveraged loans, are private debt instruments issued by a bank and syndicated by a group of banks or institutional investors. These provide capital to companies that have below-investment grade credit ratings. In order to compensate for this high risk, senior loans usually pay higher yields. Plus, shorting U.S. treasuries is also a great option in this type of a volatile environment.

Inverse Bond ETFs to Profit

There is a way to cash in on this rising yield trend, in the form of inverse Treasury ETFs like ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury ( TBF ) (up 0.8% on Oct 4), ProShares Short High Yield ( SJB ) (up 0.4%) and iPath US Treasury 10-year Bear ETN DTYS (up 1.3%) (read: 8 Inverse Bond ETFs to Profit Out of Rising Yields ).

High Dividend ETFs to Rescue

Investors can seek refuge in even higher-yield securities. So,  Invesco S&P 500 High Dividend Portfolio SPHD , yielding about 3.87% annually, can be a nice bet in a rising rate environment.

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SPDR-DJ IND AVG (DIA): ETF Research Reports

PRO-ULS RE (SRS): ETF Research Reports

IPATH-UST 10YBR (DTYS): ETF Research Reports

ISHARS-FL RT BD (FLOT): ETF Research Reports

PRO-SH REAL EST (REK): ETF Research Reports

PRO-SH 20+ TBI (TBF): ETF Research Reports

SPDR-KBW REG BK (KRE): ETF Research Reports

SPDR-FINL SELS (XLF): ETF Research Reports

ISHARS-20+YTB (TLT): ETF Research Reports

SPDR-SP 500 TR (SPY): ETF Research Reports

NASDAQ-100 SHRS (QQQ): ETF Research Reports

PWRSH-SP5 HI DV (SPHD): ETF Research Reports

HILND/IBX-SR LN (SNLN): ETF Research Reports

PRO-SH HI YLD (SJB): ETF Research Reports

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , ETFs
Referenced Symbols: DIA , SRS , DTYS , FLOT , REK

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