Global Bond Spike Not All Bad, Here's Who Benefits
Some investors have suffered hefty losses as a result of soaring bond yields across the world, but according to Goldman Sachs there have been two major beneficiaries - pension funds and insurance companies.
Goldman Sachs analysts said pension funds and insurance companies are among "the clearest winners" from rising bond yields in a research note on Wednesday, as their liabilities will be discounted more.
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Analysts led by Christian Mueller-Glissmann said declining bond yields had weighed on pension funds' and insurance companies' solvency for "most of the last decade". He explained that rising yields would ease funding risks, allowing greater risk-taking.
"Companies with the largest pension obligations or deficits consistently underperformed with declining bond yields. In addition, they traded at large discounts to the market and their respective sectors. With rising bond yields, we expect the underperformance to reverse and valuation discounts to narrow – and companies should outperform," he said.
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The yield on ten-year U.S. Treasurys surged to 2.5 percent last month, when investors' fears about the scaling back of the U.S. Federal Reserve's bond purchases sparked a global bond selloff.
Mueller-Glissmann added that better pension funding could have important implications for financial markets.
"With better solvency, more pension funds should have surpluses and insurance companies can build excess capital, and as a result there is more scope for risk-taking. This could drive re-risking in equities and a reduction in asset duration, in view of potential further increases in bond yields, which can contribute to rising longer-dated rates and steepening of yield curves," he said.
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Goldman said that pension funds and insurers had been upping their stock market allocations since mid-2012, according to data from the Bank of England, which showed net investment in equities turned positive in 2012 for the first time in three years. In addition, Goldman said there were signs of reduced buying of corporate bonds, and less selling of equities.
—By CNBC's Jenny Cosgrave: Follow her on Twitter