Huntington Asset Advisors may move 5% of its Short and Intermediate Income Fund from risky corporates to higher-rated corporates or agency debt, according to Bill Doughty, v.p. and senior portfolio manager of the Columbus, Ohio-based firm. He will also be adding to existing positions with new cash from the $160 million fund.
Doughty is considering upgrading from weak triple-Bs to strong triple-Bs, or trading up from weak triple-As to strong triple-As. Doughty said Huntington is also reviewing its holdings of Fannie Mae securities. "It's a fraud situation that is getting more and more headlines. Any time you get companies that are trying to manipulate their balance sheets, you have to take a look at that," he said. The fund manager added if Fannie's headline risk continues and spreads relative to Treasuries widen, he would consider moving his Fannie Mae positions to Federal Home Loan Bank bonds.
Doughty may also switch to bonds with longer maturities to increase duration slightly as interest rates rise and the yield curve flattens. The manager recently switched his Union Pacific '06s for '08s.
He is also looking to sell triple-B Baxter '06s and single-A minus Cardinal Health '05s. "With the healthcare industry as it is, it might not be a bad idea to sell [these credits]," Doughty explained.
The fund is composed of 70% in corporate bonds and 30% in agencies. The manager uses the Merrill Lynch Government/Credit 1-5 Index as a benchmark.
The fund aims to stay within 90% of its benchmark's duration and is currently at 2.15 years versus 2.45 years for the benchmark.