Federated Total Return Government Bond Fund (IS) FTRGX

Share Classes Product Type Asset Class Category
Mutual Fund Fixed Income Intermediate Bond
As of 09-30-2017

Market Overview

The pace of economic expansion remained steady during the reporting period, supported by continued employment growth, household spending and low inflation. With the economic environment well within Federal Reserve (Fed) expectations, policymakers announced balance-sheet reduction will commence in October 2017. Fixed-income markets performed well with spread sectors posting positive excess returns, while interest rates were steady and measured quarter-over-quarter.

Nonfarm payroll gains averaged 91,000 jobs per month for the reporting period, a rate which appears to have been distorted downward by multiple devastating hurricanes. The unemployment and labor force participation rates continued their positive trends, ending the period at 4.2% and 63.1%, respectively. Record consumer wealth attributed to rising financial markets, and home prices produced solid consumer spending and business investment. The positive economic backdrop gave the Fed confidence to initiate the first step of a balance-sheet normalization program outlined in June 2017. Beginning in October, the Fed will allow the balance sheet to decline by reducing the rate of Treasury and mortgage-backed security (MBS) reinvestment by $6 and $4 billion per month, respectively. As of Sept. 30, 2017, the Fed’s balance sheet was $4.45 trillion, nearly 25% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). The initial taper was clearly communicated, and investors were not surprised at its announcement. While the Fed will be buying fewer Treasuries and MBS, mortgage real estate investment trusts (REITs) were significant buyers of government mortgage securities as a result of new equity share issuance. Equity proceeds are invested in mortgage assets on a leveraged basis, producing significant buying power for the trusts. REIT and domestic bank purchases produced strong excess returns for MBS. Securitized assets performed well during the quarter with asset-backed securities (ABS), commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), agency and corporate debt posting positive excess returns.

Two- and 10-year U.S. Treasury yields increased 10 and 3 basis points to yield 1.48% and 2.33%, respectively.

Fund Performance

For the three months ended Sept. 30, 2017, Federated Total Return Government Bond Fund (Institutional Shares) returned 0.41% versus 0.38% for the unmanaged Bloomberg Barclays US Government Bond Index. The Institutional Shares’ net asset value (NAV) on Sept. 30, 2017, was $10.82.

Performance data quoted represents past performance, which is no guarantee of future results. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than what is stated. Other share classes may have experienced different returns than the share class presented. To view performance current to the most recent month-end and for after tax returns, click on the Performance tab.

Click the Performance tab for standard fund performance.

Both the commercial and residential mortgage sectors achieved positive excess returns with CMBS topping similar duration Treasuries by a small margin, while agency residential mortgage performance was much stronger. Interest-rate strategy was defensive in the latter portion of the period as rates increased across the yield curve, reducing the detrimental impact of falling Treasury prices. Sector allocation and interest-rate strategies boosted fund performance.

Positioning and Strategy

Portfolio investments are limited to U.S. Treasuries, government-issued debt, as well as agency residential and commercial MBS. Current asset allocation favors CMBS (55%), residential MBS (6%) and an underweight to Treasuries. In an environment with low interest-rate volatility, securitized mortgage sectors contribute incrementally higher yield, which boosts portfolio income and return. Interest-rate strategy incorporates a defensive stance with portfolio duration below that of the benchmark to reduce the potentially deleterious impact of rising interest rates.