Things could get far worse before they get better for high yield bond investors, said Collin Martin, fixed income director at the Schwab Center for Financial Research. 'Yields do look more attractive now but if you look at historical cycles, we saw spreads and yields in the late 1990’s early 2000’s move a little bit higher than where they are right now,' said Martin. 'Even though the sector looks more attractive now, we think prices can drop a little bit further.' The SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) is down over 5% thus far in 2016 after dropping 12% last year. Martin said a bottom in commodity prices, notably oil, would be a signal that it is time to step in and start buying high yield debt. He said it is difficult to get too excited about junk bonds when many of the energy companies – even those that survive the downturn - will still be struggling to manage their debt loads. 'Ultimately we are going to see that default rate rise with oil prices remaining so low,' said Martin.
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