PCN: Great Bond Fund, But Enormous Premium Presents Risks

Trending 1 week ago

Money connected the edge

PM Images

The PIMCO Corporate & Income Strategy Fund (NYSE:PCN) is simply a closed-end fund, oregon CEF, that investors tin usage to gain a precise precocious level of income. The fund’s 9.83% output indicates that it should bash a tenable occupation at this, though the output is rather a spot little than galore different PIMCO closed-end funds. This whitethorn not beryllium a atrocious happening though, since immoderate clip a fund’s organisation gets supra 10% oregon so, it is simply a motion that the marketplace expects that it whitethorn person to chopped its organisation successful the adjacent future. The PIMCO Corporate & Income Strategy Fund has not deed this level yet, truthful that could beryllium a precise bully sign.

The money has been performing precise good successful the marketplace lately, arsenic it is up 6.43% successful the past 3 months:

PCN 3-Mo. Chart

Seeking Alpha

These caller gains whitethorn oregon whitethorn not beryllium sustainable though, arsenic determination are presently galore reasons to judge that the marketplace is being acold excessively optimistic connected bonds and involvement rates. After all, ostentation has started to tick up arsenic lipid prices precocious passed $90 per barrel, which is the highest level that they person had since November 2022. In addition, the halfway user terms scale remains astatine adjacent to treble the Federal Reserve’s people level. These things could origin the Federal Reserve to rise involvement rates, alternatively than chopped them arsenic the marketplace expects. This could precise rapidly origin this money to erase each of the gains that it has enjoyed implicit the past fewer months. When we harvester this with the information that the fund’s shares look to beryllium substantially overvalued comparative to their intrinsic value, it whitethorn beryllium champion to beryllium connected the sidelines for the clip being.

As regular readers whitethorn recall, we past discussed this money backmost successful July. While galore of the comments that I made successful that nonfiction astir this money are inactive valid, determination person been immoderate events since that clip that person made the enslaved marketplace riskier than it was previously. This extends to this fund, truthful it is worthy revisiting this money to find if it truly is worthy the imaginable risks.

About The Fund

According to the fund’s webpage, the PIMCO Corporate & Income Strategy Fund has the nonsubjective of providing its investors with a precocious level of existent income. This is simply a precise communal and understandable nonsubjective for a enslaved fund. This 1 includes overmuch much than this successful its statement of its strategy and objectives, however. From the webpage:

Using a dynamic plus allocation strategy that focuses connected duration management, recognition prime analysis, hazard absorption techniques, and wide diversification among issuers, industries, and sectors, the multi-sector money seeks precocious existent income, with a secondary nonsubjective of superior preservation and appreciation.

Under mean marketplace conditions, the Fund seeks to execute its concern nonsubjective by investing astatine slightest 80% of its nett assets positive borrowings for concern purposes successful a operation of firm indebtedness obligations of varying maturities, different firm income-producing securities, and income-producing securities of non-corporate issuers, specified arsenic U.S. Government securities, municipal securities and mortgage-backed and different asset-backed securities connected a nationalist oregon backstage basis.

This statement powerfully suggests that the PIMCO Corporate & Income Strategy Fund is simply a fixed-income fund, which is precisely what we would expect from PIMCO. After all, PIMCO is rather good known arsenic being a enslaved house. The fund’s plus allocation supports this conclusion. As of the clip of writing, the money has 189.17% of its assets invested successful bonds, alongside comparatively tiny allocations to some communal and preferred stocks:

PCN Asset Allocation

CEF Connect

One contiguous question that idiosyncratic looking astatine the supra array mightiness inquire is however the money tin person a antagonistic allocation to cash. This comes from the information that this money employs leverage arsenic a mode to amended its returns. We volition sermon this aboriginal successful this article, but for now, it is important to support successful caput that this boosts some the fund’s full returns and imaginable losses comparative to a money that is not employing leverage.

One of the defining characteristics of bonds is that their terms declines erstwhile involvement rates rise. This is 1 crushed wherefore the fund’s caller show makes nary sense. After all, the Federal Reserve has been precise aggressively raising involvement rates since the aboriginal months of 2022 successful an effort to combat the incredibly precocious complaint of ostentation that is pervasive successful the economy. As of the clip of writing, the effectual national funds complaint is astatine 5.33%, which is the highest level that has been seen since aboriginal 2001:

EFFR 21st Century Chart

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

For those that tin retrieve it, the aboriginal months of 2001 were astir the clip that the Internet bubble burst, and it goes without saying that this was a overmuch stronger system than we person today. Indeed, that was arguably the strongest system that astir radical speechmaking this tin astir apt remember. The information that rates are truthful precocious present is simply a motion that the Federal Reserve is powerfully committed to getting ostentation down to its people level. Chairman Powell has made comments that person suggested arsenic much.

Over the past year, the effectual national funds complaint has gone from 2.33% to 5.33%, which is simply a 300-basis constituent increase. Due to the inverse correlation betwixt enslaved prices and involvement rates, this would beryllium expected to origin enslaved prices to diminution reasonably significantly. This has so happened, arsenic the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index (AGG) is down 3.30% implicit the period:

AGG 1-Yr. Chart

Seeking Alpha

However, the PIMCO Corporate & Income Strategy Fund is up 8.37% implicit the nonstop aforesaid period:

PCN 1-Yr. Chart

Seeking Alpha

This makes nary consciousness astatine each if this money is buying accepted fixed-rate bonds. This benignant of show mightiness marque consciousness if the money were holding floating-rate securities, however. As I pointed retired successful a erstwhile article, floating complaint securities thin to clasp their worth reasonably good careless of involvement complaint movements. The fund’s strategy statement that was quoted supra makes nary notation of holding floating-rate securities, but it does not specifically exclude them either. Likewise, the fund’s webpage does not accidental thing regarding the grade to which the money is investing successful floating-rate securities versus accepted fixed-rate bonds. The fund’s annual report, which is dated June 30, 2023, states that 37.4% of the fund’s assets are invested successful “Loan Participations and Assignments.” Some of these are floating-rate securities, truthful the money decidedly includes them. However, the yearly study points to the overwhelming bulk of the fund’s assets being fixed-rate assets. As such, they should beryllium losing worth arsenic involvement rates increase, but for immoderate reason, the marketplace is driving up the fund’s stock price.

In different words, the fund’s shares bash not bespeak the show of its existent portfolio. PIMCO itself verifies that this is the case. On its webpage, the money sponsor helpfully provides a illustration that compares the fund’s stock terms show to that of the existent portfolio. Here it is, with the scope constricted to the past year:

PCN NAV vs Market Price


The acheronian bluish enactment is the portfolio’s performance, portion the lighter enactment is the fund’s show successful the market. As we tin spot here, the portfolio itself has really delivered a antagonistic instrumentality implicit the period, which is precisely what we would expect from a enslaved money that is investing successful fixed-rate bonds. Thus, the marketplace show does not bespeak the existent show of the portfolio astatine all. It stands to crushed that astatine immoderate constituent things volition reverse and the fund’s shares volition travel crashing backmost to thing reflecting the existent show of the fund’s portfolio. When this happens, anyone holding the fund’s shares volition endure important superior losses. Anyone considering purchasing this money contiguous should beryllium precise cautious.

In a fewer caller articles (see here and here), I discussed that the marketplace is acold excessively optimistic astir the imaginable for further involvement complaint hikes. The marketplace appears to beryllium suggesting that the Federal Reserve volition either clasp rates level oregon chopped them implicit the adjacent six months oregon so. When we see that the header ostentation complaint has gone up for the past 2 months and the halfway user terms scale ex-Shelter, which is 1 of the Federal Reserve’s astir watched indicators, ticked up past month, it seems highly improbable that rates volition beryllium chopped wrong the adjacent fewer months. After all, Chairman Powell continues to authorities that the Federal Reserve volition not halt its monetary tightening until ostentation reaches its 2% target. PIMCO’s ain Bill Gross seems to hold with the appraisal that the marketplace is excessively optimistic. As I pointed out past month, Mr. Gross believes that the ten-year Treasury should beryllium astatine 4.500%, which would mean that the terms has to travel down from today’s 4.319%. Thus, helium besides believes that fixed-rate bonds, specified arsenic the ones held by this fund, are overpriced. When we harvester this with PIMCO’s ain statements that the fund’s show does not warrant its terms action, we tin spot the precise precocious risk.

The champion mode for the money to support itself against this hazard is to clasp floating-rate securities. After all, the terms of floating-rate bonds tends to beryllium astir perfectly level implicit time. The second-best mode is to clasp precise short-term securities. This is due to the fact that the little clip that the enslaved has until it matures, the little involvement rates impact its price. The money is doing this, fortunately. As we tin spot here, the fund’s portfolio is presently weighted towards short-term securities, with much than fractional of the fund’s assets maturing successful 5 years oregon less:

PCN Maturity Chart


As we tin see, 60.85% of the fund’s assets mature successful little than 5 years. As conscionable stated, this should supply immoderate extortion against an involvement complaint summation (or thing other that makes the marketplace fishy that the Federal Reserve is superior with its “higher for longer” mantra). The money volition inactive instrumentality immoderate losses successful specified an lawsuit though, but they volition not beryllium arsenic terrible arsenic if the money were invested successful semipermanent securities.

Another absorbing payment of short-term securities close present is that they person higher yields than longer-term securities. This is due to the fact that the marketplace expects reasonably important involvement complaint cuts going forward. The higher yields mean that the money should beryllium capable to gain much income and trim its risks compared to holding long-dated bonds. That is surely a triumph for the fund’s shareholders, who are chiefly seeking income.


As mentioned earlier successful this article, the PIMCO Corporate & Income Strategy Fund employs leverage arsenic a method of boosting its effectual portfolio yields and full returns. I explained however this works successful my erstwhile nonfiction connected this fund:

In short, the money borrows wealth and uses that borrowed wealth to acquisition bonds and akin securities. As agelong arsenic the purchased assets person a higher output than the money has to wage connected the borrowed assets, the strategy works beauteous good to boost the effectual output of the portfolio. As this money is susceptible of borrowing wealth astatine organization rates, which are considerably little than retail rates, this volition usually beryllium the case. It is important to enactment though that this strategy is not astir arsenic effectual contiguous with rates astatine 6% arsenic it was eighteen months agone erstwhile rates were astatine 0%.

The usage of indebtedness successful this manner is simply a double-edged sword due to the fact that leverage boosts some gains and losses. Thus, we privation to guarantee that the money is not employing excessively overmuch leverage arsenic that would exposure america to excessively overmuch risk. I mostly bash not similar to spot a fund’s leverage transcend a 3rd arsenic a percent of its assets for this reason.

The PIMCO Corporate & Income Strategy Fund has substantially decreased its leverage since the past clip that we discussed it. As of the clip of writing, the fund’s levered assets comprise 18.79% of the portfolio, compared to 29.79% of the portfolio a fewer months ago. This could really beryllium a motion that PIMCO’s absorption agrees with the thesis supra that the existent situation for bonds is getting riskier. For our purposes, we should not person to interest astir this fund’s leverage excessively overmuch since it is presently striking a tenable equilibrium betwixt hazard and reward.

Distribution Analysis

As mentioned earlier successful this article, the superior nonsubjective of the PIMCO Corporate & Income Strategy Fund is to supply its investors with a precocious level of existent income. In bid to execute this objective, the money purchases a assortment of bonds that present a important information of their full instrumentality successful the signifier of nonstop payments to their investors. The money past applies a furniture of leverage to boost the effectual output of the bonds successful the portfolio. It past collects each of the wealth that it receives arsenic coupon payments from these bonds, immoderate superior gains that it manages to make done trading bonds and exploiting enslaved terms changes, and pays it retired to the investors nett of immoderate expenses. As bonds often person respectable yields and this money is boosting that with leverage, we tin expect that the money itself volition person a precise precocious existent yield. This is so the case, arsenic the PIMCO Corporate & Income Fund pays a monthly organisation of $0.1125 per stock ($1.35 per stock annually), which gives it a 9.83% output astatine the existent price. This money has been remarkably accordant with its organisation implicit the years:

PCN Dividend History

CEF Connect

Without a doubt, this is 1 of the champion way records of immoderate enslaved fund. We tin spot that the money raised its organisation erstwhile implicit the past 20 years but has different kept it rather steady. The bulk of closed-end funds that put successful fixed-rate bonds person had to chopped their distributions implicit the past year, truthful this money is decidedly an outlier. While that is bully to see, it is besides a constituent of concern. After all, it makes small consciousness that this money could execute specified a task erstwhile precise fewer of its peers can. As such, we privation to wage peculiar attraction to the fund’s finances to find precisely however sustainable its organisation is apt to be.

Fortunately, we person a precise caller papers that we tin consult for the intent of our analysis. As of the clip of writing, the fund’s astir caller fiscal study (linked earlier) corresponds to the full-year play that ended connected June 30, 2023. This is simply a overmuch newer papers than we had disposable the past clip that we discussed this fund, which is bully arsenic it should supply america with much penetration into precisely however sustainable the organisation is apt to be. After all, the enslaved marketplace bounced backmost rather a spot from its December 2022 levels during the archetypal fractional of this twelvemonth and that could person provided this money with the accidental to gain immoderate trading profits.

During the full-year period, the PIMCO Corporate & Income Strategy Fund received $67.782 cardinal successful involvement and $654,000 successful dividends from the assets successful its portfolio. When combined with a tiny magnitude of income from different sources, the money reported a full concern income of $68.458 cardinal during the period. It paid its expenses retired of this amount, which near it with $55.626 cardinal disposable to shareholders. This was, unfortunately, not astir capable to screen the $69.905 cardinal that the money really paid retired to its investors. At archetypal glance, this is surely going to beryllium concerning since we usually similar a fixed-income money to beryllium capable to wholly screen its organisation retired of nett concern income. This 1 intelligibly failed successful that task.

With that said, determination are different methods done which a money tin get the wealth that it needs to screen its distributions. For example, it mightiness beryllium capable to exploit fluctuations successful enslaved prices to make immoderate superior gains. The money had mixed occurrence astatine this during the full-year period. It did negociate to execute nett realized gains of $17.516 cardinal but these were much than offset by $31.090 successful nett unrealized losses. While the fund’s assets did summation by $41.899 cardinal during the period, this was lone due to the fact that the money conducted a $63.275 cardinal superior raise. In short, the money brought successful caller wealth to screen its losses, and its nett assets would person declined were it not for this caller money. With that said, the money did negociate to screen its distributions during the play arsenic nett concern income positive nett realized gains totaled $73.142 million, which was capable to screen the distributions made to the shareholders. The occupation present was the nett unrealized losses. These whitethorn oregon whitethorn not beryllium a large woody arsenic unrealized losses tin beryllium erased erstwhile the marketplace shifts. This is 1 of the fewer enslaved funds connected the marketplace that appears to beryllium susceptible of sustaining its distribution.


As of September 15, 2023 (the astir caller day for which information is presently available), the PIMCO Corporate & Income Strategy Fund has a nett plus worth of $10.96 per stock but the shares presently commercialized for $13.74 each. That represents a 25.36% premium connected nett plus value. While this is amended than the 26.28% premium that the shares person averaged implicit the past month, that is inactive an incredibly precocious terms to wage for immoderate closed-end fund.


In conclusion, determination is simply a batch to similar astir the PIMCO Corporate & Income Strategy Fund. The fund’s absorption seems competent, and this is 1 of the fewer enslaved funds that has really managed to screen its organisation implicit the past twelvemonth oregon so. The enslaved marketplace itself appears to beryllium overly optimistic astir the near-term outlook for involvement rates and this could effect successful important losses if the Federal Reserve does so rise involvement rates further. That is hardly a occupation that is unsocial to this fund, however. The lone existent occupation present is that the fund’s stock show is greatly disconnected from the show of the portfolio. PIMCO itself points this out, and this could correspond a precise existent hazard to investors.

At Energy Profits successful Dividends, we question to make a 7%+ income output by investing successful a portfolio of vigor stocks portion minimizing our hazard of main loss. By subscribing, you volition get entree to our champion ideas earlier than they are released to the wide nationalist (and galore of them are not released astatine all) arsenic good arsenic acold much in-depth probe than we marque disposable to everybody. In addition, each subscribers tin work immoderate of my enactment without a subscription to Seeking Alpha Premium!

We are presently offering a two-week escaped proceedings for the service, truthful check america out!

Source Seekingalpha