DEFINITION of 'Pickup'

A gain in yield made by selling one bond and buying another. When market interest rates change, bond yields change. If the new interest rates are higher than the old rates, investors can achieve a better yield, or pickup, by selling their old bonds and buying new ones that have the same level of risk. However, if interest rates are steady, or declining, the only way to achieve a pickup is to buy existing, higher interest-rate bonds at a premium or to buy higher-risk bonds that carry a higher yield. Thus, a pickup strategy may entail cost or risk.


Also referred to as "yield pickup."

BREAKING DOWN 'Pickup'

Pickup is the most common reason why investors trade bonds. Other reasons include an anticipated credit upgrade for a bond issuer (particularly if the upgrade will move the bond from junk to investment grade), a credit-defense trade to limit a portfolio's exposure to default risk and a sector-rotation trade to benefit from anticipated outperformance in a particular industry or sector. Investors also use yield curve adjustment trades to change the duration of a bond portfolio based on expectations about the direction of interest rates. When they anticipate rising interest rates, they will want to shorten the duration of their portfolios; when they anticipate declining interest rates, they will want to lengthen the duration of their portfolios.

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