The Federal Reserve has enacted its tenth consecutive interest rate hike while signaling that a pause for hikes is possible looking ahead to June’s meeting. In an environment of stable rates, bonds could continue to flourish, and will likely experience increased flows as more advisors and investors shift some of their equity allocations to bonds ahead of a recession and the NEOS Enhanced Income Aggregate Bond ETF (BNDI ) is worth consideration for income within bonds.
Fed language in the FOMC policy statement omitted the wording regarding additional rate hikes that could be appropriate, signaling a possible pause in the months to come. As for rate cuts, it’s not something that is on the Fed’s radar anytime soon, according to Powell.
“We on the committee have a view that inflation is going to come down not so quickly,” Powell said in a post-meeting statement. “It will take some time, and in that world, if that forecast is broadly right, it would not be appropriate to cut rates and we won’t cut rates.”
Banking sector stress continues to be a concern for markets, particularly in the wake of First Republic’s recent failure and JPMorgan’s acquisition of the bank. Powell referred to the acquisition as an “exception” to the broad understanding of preventing the biggest banks from growing larger by such an action, and is likely to result in a “good outcome for the banking system.”
Bank tightening and stress are one of the signals that the Fed will be watching in the coming months alongside the labor market and a variety of inflation indicators, but for now, the regulatory body has seemed to indicate a willingness to ease off the gas and potentially coast on current interest rate levels at the meeting in June should the economy perform to expectations.
Capture High Income Within Bonds With BNDI
Reduced interest rate risk could be a boon for bonds in the coming months, and bonds are likely to become increasingly attractive as equity downturn potential grows and recession risks rise. The NEOS Enhanced Income Aggregate Bond ETF (BNDI ) is an actively managed ETF that seeks to offer enhanced monthly income distributions for investors by investing across the broad U.S. Aggregate Bond Market while also implementing a tax-efficient options strategy that generates additional income.
BNDI currently has a distribution yield 5.1% and a 30-day SEC yield of 2.04% as of 04/30/2023 and is up 2.83% YTD.
The income and capital gains that BNDI receives from its bond allocations are enhanced by the addition of monthly income from the fund’s put-option strategy on the S&P 500, which sells short puts while also buying long puts to protect against volatility.
The strategy is expected to offer positive returns in both flat and rising equity markets and can generate positive returns in moderately-declining equity markets as long as the premium from the puts bought and sold is greater than the cost to close out the positions. Additional benefits of an options-based strategy can mean that the fund may offer a lower correlation to certain risk factors, including duration, credit, and inflation risk.
The put options that the fund uses are not ETF options but instead are S&P 500 index options, which are taxed favorably as Section 1256 Contracts under IRS rules. This means that the options held at the end of the year are treated as if they had been sold on the last market day of the year at fair market value, and, most importantly, any capital gains or losses are taxed as 60% long-term and 40% short-term no matter how long the options were held. This can offer noteworthy tax advantages, and the fund’s managers also may engage in tax-loss harvesting opportunities throughout the year on the put options.
BNDI currently has an expense ratio of 0.58%.
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