For some reason my CFT, CIU, CSJ, and LWC are -2.95% overall, when the rest of my stocks are at +8%. Is there any specific reason why Corporate Bonds are going down while the market is climbing?
Bonds and equities are usually the inverse of each other. As rates start to rise the value of your existing, low rate bond portfolios will decrease.
With rates near all-time record lows, holding anything other than short-duration bond funds is a risky proposition. If you want income, look at shifting toward dividend equities.
Yeah, bonds tend to rise when stocks fall, and vice versa.... that's sort of the idea of having both.
Why are the bonds falling in value right now? Interest rates, mostly. When you buy a bond, you're basically buying future money. When you buy a bond, you're signing up for a fixed amount of future money (hence the term "fixed-income" investing). So, if interest rates go up, and there are similar bonds out there with a better interest rate, why would anyone want to buy your bonds? They won't! They can get a better deal elsewhere! ... unless you give them a discount on the face value of the bond. (If interest rates fall, the opposite happens, and the market value of your bond goes up.)
If you have a bond with maturity 1 year away and interest rates rise by 1%, its current value will fall about 1%. If it's maturity is 2 years away, its value will fall by ~2%. (The exact math is a little tricky because it involves compounding.) If you have a bond fund with an average maturity of 5 years, you can expect a haircut of about 5% for every point the interest rate goes up.
As of 2010-and-nearly-2011, interest rates have been insanely low. This is a supply-and-demand situation: people who were scared of the stock market and willing to buy bonds at very bad rates (very good rates for the issuers, though) and the Federal Reserve has been buying them too (well, the Fed mostly buys Treasury bonds, but most lending is basically the going rate for Treasury bonds plus some premium for the risk). Rates can only really go "nowhere" and "up" right now.