The Federal Reserve's purchases of U.S. home loan bonds with government backing has pushed investors out of the securities and into other debt, helping to ease credit more broadly, JPMorgan Chase & Co., analysts said.
More than half of investors hold a smaller percentage of so-called agency mortgage-backed securities than found in benchmark indexes, compared with about 20% that were "underweight" in July, the analysts led by Matthew Jozoff in New York wrote in an Oct. 30 report.
That kind of shift means the investors probably unloaded "several hundred" billions of dollars of the securities because of the low yields they pay compared with benchmark rates, or about the same amount as the Fed bought under its $1.25 trillion program, the analysts wrote.
"In other words, Fed purchases are coming right out of private investors' portfolios," they wrote. "At first this may seem pointless from a policy perspective. However, the intent is probably to drive private investors into other assets the Fed can't purchase directly," such as corporate bonds or nonagency mortgage-backed securities.