Mortgage-backed securities, or MBS, are currently an attractive alternative to Treasuries. The main reason for wide spreads is elevated implied volatility due to their inherent negative convexity. Traditional mortgage ETFs are not the best way to capture a potential tightening in spreads. Large ETFs like MBB and VMBS provide exposure to the entire mortgage market, not just the current coupons with the highest spread.
The path for interest rates in 2024 is undoubtedly one of the most significant issues for investors. Virtually everyone agrees the next move is lower, but there is little agreement on when the Fed may begin to ease rates and the cumulative amount it may ease policy. The Fed’s own Summary of Economic Projections, also known as the ‘dot plot,’ indicates rates will be lowered by 0.75% in 2024 from the current 5.25%-5.5% band to 4.5%-4.75%. The financial markets are expecting almost double that. What should investors believe? The Fed or the market?