NEW YORK, Aug 09, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Managed High Yield Plus Fund Inc. HYF 0.00% (the "Fund") is a closed-end management investment company seeking high income, and secondarily, capital appreciation, primarily through investments in lower rated, income-producing debt and related equity securities.
Fund Commentary for the second quarter 2012 from UBS Global Asset Management (Americas) Inc. ("UBS Global AM"), the Fund's investment manager
The second quarter saw resilient performance from high yield markets, which delivered solid returns as market sentiment fluctuated. Initiatives to bolster financial markets, such as the Long-Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO) in the Eurozone, had improved risk appetite in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the effect of these efforts faded and economic data worsened as the outlook for growth deteriorated. In the high yield market, corporate fundamentals generally remained healthy, with liquidity levels and net leverage ratios at overall manageable levels, in our view. Primary market activity, although muted compared to the first quarter, remained robust, with some $50 billion in new issuance in the second quarter. Investor demand remained strong, with the asset class seeing inflows for the quarter, despite periodic outflows midway through the period. Defaults remained low and well below historical averages. During the second quarter, the US high yield market posted a return of 1.83%, as measured by the B of A Merrill Lynch US High Yield Cash Pay Constrained Index (the "Index).(1) The yield on the Index ended the quarter near historic lows at 7.20%. From a ratings perspective, better-quality ratings categories broadly outperformed lower-quality bonds, with the BB and B-rated segments outperforming the CCC- and below-rated segments.
For the second quarter of 2012, the Fund posted a net asset value total return of 1.74%, and a market price return of 2.21%. On a net asset value basis, the Fund modestly underperformed its benchmark, the Index, which returned 1.83% for the quarter.
We began the second quarter with overweights to services, gaming, energy and chemicals, and underweights to diversified financials, building materials, health care and consumer products sectors. We ended the quarter with overweights to services, gaming and telecommunications, and underweights to building materials, banking, consumer products and health care sectors.
Over the second quarter, we continued to express a preference for better quality issuers and issues. We added exposure to bonds rated BBB and above and held elevated levels of cash, while reducing exposure to bonds rated B and BB. We also added modestly to CCC- and below-rated bonds. From a sector perspective, we added exposure to telecommunications, diversified financials and health care. In contrast, we reduced the Fund's exposure to energy, gaming, food/beverage and banks and thrifts. We also reduced the extent of our small opportunistic position in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) that had been added during the prior quarter based on attractive relative valuations.
Over the quarter, issue selection was the primary driver of negative relative returns, while duration positioning was a modest positive contributor, and sector allocation was neutral overall. In terms of issue selection, our holdings in energy, health care and services detracted from results, more than offsetting a positive contribution from gaming. In terms of sector allocation, our positioning within industrials, technology, telecommunications and services contributed to results, while our positioning within financials--driven by insurance and diversified financials--detracted from performance.
We believe credit fundamentals remain supportive for high yield, with companies reporting solid earnings and maintaining manageable corporate leverage and debt profiles overall. In our opinion, current high yield spreads(2) should provide a sufficient cushion should defaults rise moderately from their current levels, which remain below historical averages. We continue to anticipate periods of heightened market volatility as we face a number of macro uncertainties. As a consequence, we prefer to position the portfolio with a defensive bias from sector and quality perspectives. The risk to this defensive view is that demand for high yield securities continues to escalate, potentially based on further fundamental issuer quality improvements in what remains a low interest rate environment.
Disclaimers Regarding Fund Commentary - The Fund Commentary is intended to assist shareholders in understanding how the Fund performed during the period noted. Views and opinions were current as of the date of this press release. They are not guarantees of performance or investment results and should not be taken as investment advice. Investment decisions reflect a variety of factors, and the Fund and UBS Global AM reserve the right to change views about individual securities, sectors and markets at any time. As a result, the views expressed should not be relied upon as a forecast of the Fund's future investment intent.
Past performance does not predict future performance. The return and value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor's shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Any Fund net asset value ("NAV") returns cited in a Fund Commentary assume, for illustration only, that dividends and other distributions, if any, were reinvested at the NAV on the payable dates. Any Fund market price returns cited in a Fund Commentary assume that all dividends and other distributions, if any, were reinvested at prices obtained under the Fund's Dividend Reinvestment Plan. Returns for periods of less than one year have not been annualized. Returns do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund dividends and other distributions, if any, or on the sale of Fund shares.