Gundlach's Total Return Fund Beat All Fixed-Income Rivals In 2018

Jim Cramer is going to love this.

Jeff Gundlach's $47.2 billion DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund notched a 1.8% gain in 2018, making it the best performer among the world's ten largest bond funds, according to Bloomberg.

The fund, which focuses on mortgage-backed securities, beat 97% of bond funds tracked by Morningstar during what was a brutal year for bond investors (and equity investors, and risk parity, and macro, and...). By comparison, the Barclays Aggregate Total Return Bond Index returned 0.1%. Since launching the fund in 2010, Gundlach's Total Return fund has reaped average annual returns of 5.9%, compared with 3.2% for the Barclays US Agg.

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Gundlach has earned an annual average of 5.9 percent, compared with 3.2 percent for the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Index.

As of Nov. 30, the fund invested in more than 2,200 securities, including 26% of its portfolio in non-agency mortgage-backed securities, 25% in collateralized mortgage obligations, 22% in agency pass-throughs and 8% in commercial MBS. Meanwhile, Gundlach had no exposure to corporate debt (which badly underperformed after yields fell to record tights early in the year) and only 3.4% of his AUM in Treasuries.

These were the top-five performing funds (per Bloomberg):

  • DoubleLine Total Return Bond (DBLTX): $47.2 billion (1.75%)
  • Lord Abbett Short Duration Income (LLDYX): $41.7 billion (1.43%)
  • Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt (VWIUX): $58 billion (1.33%)
  • Vanguard Short-Term Investment-Grade (VFSUX): $58.3 billion (0.96%)
  • Pimco Income Fund (PIMIX): $108 billion (0.58%)

And after Gundlach told CNBC earlier this year that he expects equities to enter a bear market in 2019, he believes "high quality bonds" are the way to go.