Income Strategy First Quarter 2016 Review
The first quarter of 2016 proved to be another see-saw quarter in fixed income markets. The quarter started with volatility consistent with that experienced in equity markets. Continued concerns over China’s growth rate, a slowdown in the North American manufacturing sector, and fallout from collapsing commodity prices steered the markets to traditional safe-haven sectors such as government bonds through to mid-February. During that time, the word “recession” appeared with greater frequency in the financial media and published investment research reports. As seems to be the case with all “crises” post the 2008 Lehman bank failure, this risk of recession “crisis” came and passed, at least for now. As we worked through the last six weeks of the quarter, the risk of recession pricing in the bond market largely unwound. The Cumberland Income Fund’s diversified positioning and elevated short-term bond holdings dampened much of the volatility. The Fund also opportunistically deployed capital (cash) into the higher yielding environment prevalent during the quarter, consistent with our stated strategy.