Index rule change could test bond market liquidity

More than 1,000 bonds will be removed from the Barclays US Agg on April 1

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An imminent change to the composition of a closely followed bond index has added a dollop of uncertainty to quarter-end trading in fixed-income markets.

“We don’t have a firm view of what will happen on April 1,” says a credit portfolio manager at an asset management firm in California.

On that date, 1,023 smaller, illiquid bonds with a combined market value of $304 billion will disappear from the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Index (Barclays US Agg). The purge is the result of a rule change