NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jeffrey Gundlach, the widely followed investor who runs DoubleLine Capital, repeated a December warning on Monday that the dramatic slowdown in global growth will trigger a collapse in some credit funds, saying that the high-yield “junk” bond market still has not hit bottom.
“Credit fund bankruptcies are coming,” said Gundlach, who warned in December that the Federal Reserve might regret raising rates because of deteriorating financial conditions. “It’s not a market to be flopping around in. The trends are relentless and powerful.”
Gundlach, in emailed comments to Reuters, said: “Clearly, weaker-than-hoped-for global growth is the major factor in this weakness” in credit markets. “That and the credit overload I have been warning about ad nauseum.”
Gundlach said the CBOE Volatility index .VIX needs to be above 40 before a bottom can be made in the high-yield junk bond market. On Monday, the VIX was up 16.4 percent at 27.21. The VIX, known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, has not touched 40 since late August.
The collapse last year of Third Avenue Management, a near $1 billion junk bond fund which marked the biggest failure in the U.S. mutual fund industry since the height of the financial crisis in 2008, had ignited concerns that less liquidity in the corporate bond market would cause more volatility.
“This is not a trader’s market,” Gundlach said. “It is a freight train that you want to stay in sync with. There’s too much order and belief in markets in spite of big losses.”
He said equities are in a bear market, with the Nasdaq down 18.3 percent from its highs and “many, many, many stocks down over 25 percent from their highs.” On Monday, the Dow Jones industrials average was down more than 200 points.
In both 2015 and 2014 Gundlach made correct predictions on market events. In 2015, he forecast that oil prices would plunge, junk bonds would live up to their name and China’s slowing economy would pressure emerging markets. In 2014, he forecast that U.S. Treasury yields would fall, rather than rise as many others had expected.
Reporting by Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Leslie Adler