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DWS Ponders AOL

25 May 2002

DWS Investments is seeking to increase its exposure to corporate bonds. In particular, the media sector appears very cheap says Xueming Song, Frankfurt-based portfolio manager of the firm's $420 million dollar portfolio, who is looking to add AOLTimeWarner's 10-year benchmark bond. The 6 7/8% of '12 global bond has widened roughly 100 basis points to 260 over Treasuries in the past month. Song says he will buy AOL once it widens to 280-290 over. "If you drop AOL out of AOLTimeWarner, there are still good medium- to long-term fundamentals," he says.

Song has also added France Telecom's 3 1/4% of '11 at 330 over Treasuries. He believes FT's problems are priced in already and the bonds should tighten by 50 basis points. "The market is uncertain about telecoms at the moment, but France Telecom is still more or less a monopoly in France," he says. He is more cautious about other telecoms, because there has been a lot of volatility as many funds have been forced sellers of WorldCom. Song thinks Verizon and SBC could also be affected by negative market sentiment.

Elsewhere in the portfolio, Song has added stable cyclical names, such as Weyerhauser's 63/4% of '12 in the paper and pulp sector, which trades at 150 over Treasuries. He also holds Duke Energy's floaters of '05. "The (U.S) economy will recover, slowly, but it will recover, which should benefit stable cyclical names," he says.

25 May 2002