Federated Government Income Trust (IS) FICMX

Share Classes Product Type Asset Class Category
Mutual Fund Fixed Income Intermediate Bond
As of 09-30-2018

Market Overview

The U.S. economic expansion continued in the third quarter of 2018, aided by consumer spending and capital investment. The unemployment rate held roughly steady near a multi-decade low as a result of robust job growth and a stable labor force participation rate. The under-employment rate, counting discouraged and involuntary part-time workers, also fell during the quarter. Companies continued to hold tightly to existing employees as new jobless claims remained exceptionally low. The recently enacted tax cuts, federal spending increases and lighter regulatory environment continued to drive a high level of confidence in the economic expansion from both corporations and consumers. However, heightened trade rhetoric led to increased concern among some businesses.

The Federal Reserve’s (Fed) favored measure of inflation, core Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE), remained near its target of 2%. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement and economic projections from its most recent meeting reinforced that the members expect inflation to stabilize near, but slightly above, its 2% target, and that the inflation target is symmetric. Policymakers are unlikely to react abruptly to higher inflation as inflation has been significantly below target for nearly a decade. The FOMC raised the federal funds target rate to a range of 2-2.25% at its September meeting. The committee continued to reduce the size of the Fed’s balance sheet by gradually allowing a portion of its Treasury and mortgage-backed security (MBS) holdings to roll off without reinvestment over a period of years, subject to certain caps on the pace of the decline in holdings.

Interest rates rose across the curve, with larger increases at the short end and a smaller increase at the 10-year point. The S&P 500 rose during the quarter, marking a new all-time high. Outside the U.S., the outlook moderated somewhat. Growth in Europe, Japan and emerging markets continued, though at a somewhat slower pace. The fiscal position of the U.S. government continued to be troublesome. Total U.S. Treasury debt outstanding is over $21 trillion, more than the entire gross domestic product (GDP) of the U.S.

Treasury rates rose during the period across the yield curve as the markets priced in more interest-rate increases by the Fed. Mortgage securities outperformed similar-duration Treasuries.

As of Sept. 30, 2018, the yield on 2-year Treasury securities rose 29 basis points to end the quarter at 2.82%, and the yield on 10-year Treasury securities rose 20 basis points to end the quarter at 3.06%.

Fund Performance

For the three months ended Sept. 30, 2018, Federated Government Income Trust (Institutional Shares) returned -0.12% versus -0.12% for the unmanaged Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Mortgage Backed Securities Index. The Institutional Shares’ net asset value (NAV) on Sept. 30, 2018, was $9.79.

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.

Duration management made a positive contribution to the fund’s performance as the fund maintained a below-neutral duration stance and yields rose during the period. The fund’s overweight to higher coupon mortgages, relative to 3% and 3.5% mortgages, contributed to fund performance as the higher coupon mortgages performed well during the quarter.

Positioning and Strategy

The fund is overweight to higher coupons and underweight 3.5% coupons. The portfolio contains greater exposure to mortgage securities with characteristics that traditionally lower prepayment risk, such as low loan balances and seasoned MBS issued in previous years relative to the index, which contains higher average loan-balance pools and more recently issued securities. The fund ended the third quarter with a below-neutral duration stance.