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Good time to buy bonds? ‘Absolutely not’

Tuesday, 4 Feb 2014 | 10:30 PM ET
Good time to buy bonds? ‘Absolutely not’
Tuesday, 4 Feb 2014 | 5:24 PM ET
Here is why not to bet on the U.S. bond market right now even after the recent pull-back in yields, says Jack Bouroudjian, Chief Investment Officer at Index Financial Partners.

Like other safe-haven assets, U.S. Treasurys have benefited from the recent turmoil in global equity markets. Does that make bonds a buy at current levels? "Absolutely not," says one analyst.

The rally in bond prices is probably a short-term aberration and yields, which have hit multi-month lows in the U.S. and Europe in the past week, are likely to head back up once stock markets get their mojo back, said Jack Bouroudjian, the chief investment officer at Index Financial Partners.

(Read more: Traders watch data to see if sluggishness a 'blip')

"When you are looking around the world and you're looking at places to park your capital, right now that happens to be the 10-year Treasury and the Bund in Germany," he told CNBC Asia's "Squawk Box" Wednesday.

"If someone were to ask me if they should hold bonds at these levels, I would say absolutely not because the way markets have acted has been an aberration," he added.

Yields on benchmark 10-year Treasurys hit a three-month low of 2.57 percent on Monday.

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While yields rose on Tuesday as the stock market recovered, tempting cash out of safe-haven assets, current levels around 2.63 percent remain some 40 basis points below a 2-1/2 year peak hit in early January.

(Read more: The great rotation…in reverse!)

The 10-year Japanese government bond yield hit 0.604 percent on Tuesday, its lowest level in two months. The German Bund yield meanwhile is trading at around 1.65 percent – not far off a six-month low of about 1.60 percent hit last week.

"In Bunds, which we maintain are significantly overbought, there appears something of a stutter around 1.65 percent in yield in 10-year benchmark terms," analysts at Credit Agricole said in note.

Benchmark 10-year Treasurys notched their biggest price gain in 20 months in January on weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data and as a rout in emerging market assets sparked flows into safe-haven assets, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

This may have helped the Pimco Total Return Fund, the world's largest bond fund by assets, rise 1.35 percent in January after last year posting its worst annual loss since 1994.

(Read more: Pimco Total Return Fund rises 1.35% in January)

Still, given brighter prospects for the world economy compared with a year ago and expectations for stronger corporate earnings, analysts say the theme that emerged last year of an outflow of cash from bonds into stocks is far from over.

"We are underweight bonds. The rally in January in Treasurys [prices] does not come as a surprise to us, but we think it has pretty much run its course," said Hans Goetti, head of investment for Asia at Banque Internationale à Luxembourg.

"U.S. monetary policy is back on the path of normalization and eventually long-term interest rates will go up, so long-term we're not exactly bullish on Treasurys," he added.

Bouroudjian at Index Financial Partners added: "That [10-year Treasury] yield will start rising as capital is redeployed and it will be whether it's into equities or alternatives."

— By CNBC.Com's Dhara Ranasinghe; Follow her on Twitter @DharaCNBC

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