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Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Betting Against Bonds

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Are short sellers giving a short term boost to some fund firm's bottom lines? That is the what the Wall Street Journal contends that they are doing in an article published today. The story uncovers evidence that investors -- either institutional or individual may be using the Barclays iShares Lehman 20 Plus Year Treasury Bond Fund as a way to play the interest rate market.

Also hot right now is the Rydex Juno Fund that bets against the bond market.

In the case of the Barclays fund assets have ballooned to $978 million from less than $100 million at the end of May, estimates AMG Data Services. That includes some $499 million in net new assets. Meanwhile, the Rydex fund has grown to $830 million in assets from $95 million at the start of the year.

Spokesperson Tom Taggert told the paper that Barclays has "noticed a lot of investors have started to use our 20 Plus Treasury Fund as a way to respond to the volatility, either to extend or shorten the duration of their portfolios," over the past month.

Those investors may be holding onto big gains as the fund's NAV had fallen to $83.66 at the end of last week from nearly $100 in mid-July.  

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