It's pretty clear bonds are a bad job, with returns relatively meager and prices likely to fall ahead, but yield-seeking investors keep pushing money their way.
"People have been buying bonds for some years and going further out the risk spectrum to get yield as Treasury yields fall," said Mark Matthews, head of research for Asia at Julius Baer. Bond yields move inversely to their prices. "There's not a lot of value left in fixed income in general, not just the high yield," he said.
"With the Federal Reserve tapering (its asset purchases) and looking to raise rates next year, the price appreciation we've seen generally over the last five years (will reverse) and prices will fall as yields head up," Matthews said.
That hasn't stopped investors from chasing bonds' payouts. So far this year, $56.69 billion has flowed into bond funds, outpacing the $44.06 billion heading into equities, according to data from Jefferies.
All those funds chasing what appear to be ever-smaller yields have kept bonds expensive and sometimes crowded.
"Investment grade credit is trading rich and looks increasingly vulnerable to rising rates," Morgan Stanley said in a note last week. "Upside appears very limited in high yield, and a negative shock (emerging market turmoil, weaker China or domestic growth etc.) is possible."