Not many changes in this month's Total Return Fund (PIMCO) flagship fund update: Bill Gross kept his MBS exposure at 53%, while lowering his net margin cash position from -23% to -18%, courtesy of a decline in Emerging Markets exposure from 10% to 7%. Exposure to all other products remained relatively flat. The one major difference is that TRF AUM rose from $252.5 billion to $258.7 billion, a $6 billion inflow in one month, and an all time high for the fund. As a result, the proportional exposure to MBS rose to $137 billion from $134 billion in absolute notional: also an all time record. Despite recent jawboning by both good and bad Fed cops, Gross is not wavering and is certain that when QE comes, and it will, it will not be some sterilized intervention (which is impossible as the Fed no longer has short-term bonds to sell), but outright MBS/QE, most likely in a 5/3 ratio. Additionally, we also learned that the effective duration of the TRF portfolio slumped to 4.61 years, the lowest since July 2011, when Gross was convinced America was going to hell. This one is somewhat confusing although we attribute the duration crunch to the ongoing surge in MBS holdings, and to a repositioning toward short-dated TSY paper.
Monthly TRF holdings:
TRF maturity and duration distribution: