(Bloomberg) -- Bond returns will probably be ho-hum next year — as they have been in 2015 — according to the biggest investors.
JPMorgan Chase, Fidelity Investments, Pacific Investment Management and Goldman Sachs are all cautioning not to be too optimistic. Goldman Sachs predicts benchmark U.S. 10-year yields will climb to 3% by the end of 2016 from 2.29% Thursday.
U.S. government securities eked out a 0.7% gain this year, and developed-market sovereign debt slid 2.5%, based on Bloomberg World Bond Indexes, as the Fed raised interest rates on Dec. 16 for the first time in almost a decade. The odds of at least one more increase in 2016 are about 94%, futures contracts indicate, threatening to push bond yields higher worldwide.
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“We’re expecting returns in the bond market like low-single digits to mid-single digits,” said Joyce Chang, global head of research in New York at JPMorgan. “That’s across the bond universe. That’s not much away from what we’re projecting for U.S. equities markets, which we think could also be sub 5%,” she said this week in an interview with Bloomberg.
"U.S. Treasury yields are below where we thought they would be a year ago" as a decline in oil prices capped inflation, Francesco Garzarelli, Goldman Sachs’s co-head of macro and markets research in London, wrote in a report this week. Higher policy rates in the U.S., a pickup in inflation and economic growth will propel yields higher in 2016, Garzarelli said.
An clients would lose about 3.2% if Goldman Sachs’s yield forecast proves to be accurate, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan are both primary dealers, the 22 firms that trade directly with the Fed and underwrite the U.S. debt.
Yields may “move up slowly,” said Tony Crescenzi, a market strategist at Pimco, which has $1.47 trillion in assets and manages the world’s biggest actively run bond fund. Ten-year yields will probably be in a range of about 2.25% to 2.75%, with the band rising from 2% to 2.50%, Crescenzi, who is based in Newport Beach, California, said in an interview with Bloomberg Wednesday.
The Fed increased the target for its benchmark rate by a quarter point to a range of 0.25% to 0.5%. The median estimate among policy makers is for a level of 1.375% at the end of 2016.
“The market is pricing in a very, very slow pace of tightening — even slower than the Fed’s median forecast,” Bill Irving, manager of the Fidelity Government Income Fund, wrote in an outlook report earlier this month. “This presents a risk that rates could rise faster than is expected.” Boston-based Fidelity has $2 trillion in assets.