Don't Get Tempted By Europe, Bond Guru Says

Top bond fund manager Bonnie Baha of DoubleLine Capital says that, with central banks around the globe distorting asset values, investors shouldn’t be tempted into taking on riskier bets in European bonds.

“The world’s central banks have made it very difficult to assess the euro zone’s vulnerability to cross defaults among sovereign credits,” Baha writes in a Forbes column. “Quantitative easing has rigged market prices–more than a decade of it in Japan, six years of it in both the U.K. and the U.S., and now QE in the euro zone. As a result, relative values among different sovereign credits, and asset classes, have been masked.”

Her advice: “Don’t trade safer fixed-income investments for riskier strategies that you don’t understand. Even in a low-rate environment, high-quality fixed income remains the best way to reduce the overall risk of a portfolio.” She also says to avoid or underweight euro-denominated assets, and to underweight “U.S. stocks that have outsize revenue exposure to Europe. Some U.S. domiciled multinationals generate as much as 30% of their earnings and revenues in Europe. Dollar strength may sap that book of business in coming quarters.”

Baha also says Greece’s problems “likely will bedevil Europe’s common currency for the foreseeable future. If Greece is to stay in the euro zone, the European Central Bank will have to engage in euro-debasing volumes of QE. A Greek exit could well tempt Spain and Italy to go their own monetary way.”