Bonds beating stocks in 2014...so far
Bond prices suffered mightily last year at the hands of the roaring stock market. But fixed income investments are the lead performers in 2014, as stocks in the U.S. and around the world have tanked on concerns about emerging markets and Federal Reserve tapering.
"Everyone was leaning into the wind and the 10-year [Treasury] turned around. I think it's more a function risk-off," John Lynch, regional chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank, told CNBC on Wednesday.
In January, the S&P 500 Index fell about 4 percent in its first monthly loss since August, while bond prices turned in their strongest gains in 20 months. Bond yields, which move in the opposite direction of price, moved lower.
Treasurys generated about 1.25 percent total return in last month, the biggest monthly gain since the 1.71 percent rise in May 2012, according to an index compiled by Barclays.
But Lynch warned on "Squawk Box" that investors be selective in the fixed income arena because the major expansions of the balance sheets of the Federal Reserve and other global central banks are going to pose longer-term inflationary risks.
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"We want to underweight … Treasurys and look at for opportunities in spread sectors" such as corporate bonds, he advised, adding that investors can also "take advantage of the muni selloff from last fall due to the Puerto Rico and Detroit situations."
As for stocks, Lynch said he's not ready to start bargain hunting. "I'm not convinced that the time is just right yet. The technical breakdown has been pretty strong."
"If we're able to get … a good jobs report Friday we may not get this elusive 10 percent correction just yet," he continued. "But I've got to think this technical repair is going to take a while."
In a separate interview, Salient Partners CIO Lee Partridge urged investors to put the recent stock market decline in perspective, given last year's 30 percent advance. "We're still up [about] 27 percent from where we were."
But he said investors are largely overexposed in stocks. "Most people have more stocks than what they need to begin with," he said, adding that he'd be hesitant to start buying now.
John Lonski at Moody's Capital Markets Research Group said he'd also wait for "some clear signs" that the market has stabilized.
Doing otherwise, he continued, "you're trying to be too cute and time the bottom. That's very difficult to do. Why try to catch a falling knife?"
"What tends to matter most in a rising market for equities is that profits continue to grow," Lonski said. "For the most part, the consensus is calling for an extended climb by profits throughout 2014 and into 2015."