Fund Goal and Approach
The fund seeks to maximize total return, consisting of capital appreciation and current income.To pursue its goal, the fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus any borrowings for investment purposes, in fixed-income securities that, at the time of purchase, are rated below investment grade ("high yield" or "junk" bonds) or are the unrated equivalent as determined by The Dreyfus Corporation. The fund's portfolio may include various types of fixed-income securities, such as corporate bonds and notes, mortgage-related securities, asset-backed securities, floating rate loans (limited to up to 20% of the fund's net assets) and other floating rate securities, zero coupon securities, convertible securities, preferred stock and other debt instruments of U.S. and foreign issuers.
In choosing securities, the fund's portfolio managers seek to capture the higher yields offered by junk bonds, while managing credit risk and the volatility caused by interest rate movements. The fund's investment process involves a "top down" approach to security selection. The fund looks at a variety of factors when assessing a potential investment, including the state of the industry or sector, the company's financial strength, and the company's management. The fund also looks for companies that are under-leveraged, have positive free cash flow, and are self-financing. There are no restrictions on the dollar-weighted average maturity or average effective duration of the fund's portfolio or on the maturities or durations of the individual fixed-income securities the fund may purchase. A bond's maturity is the length of time until the principal must be fully repaid with interest. Average effective portfolio maturity is an average of the maturities of bonds held by the fund directly and the bonds underlying derivative instruments entered into by the fund, if any, adjusted to reflect provisions or market conditions that may cause a bond's principal to be repaid earlier than at its stated maturity. Duration is an indication of an investment's "interest rate risk," or how sensitive a bond or the fund's portfolio may be to changes in interest rates.
The fund may, but is not required to, use certain derivatives, such as options, futures and options on futures (including those relating to securities, foreign currencies, indexes and interest rates), forward contracts, and swap agreements (including interest rate and credit default swap agreements). The fund intends to use options, futures and options on futures only as part of a hedging strategy. The fund may enter into swap agreements, such as interest rate and credit default swap agreements, which can be used to transfer the interest rate or credit risk of a security without actually transferring ownership of the security or, for credit default swaps, to customize exposure to particular corporate credit.
The fund also may invest in collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), which include collateralized loan obligations and other similarly structured securities. To enhance current income, the fund may engage in a series of purchase and sale contracts or forward roll transactions in which the fund sells a mortgage-related security, for example, to a financial institution and simultaneously agrees to purchase a similar security from the institution at a later date at an agreed upon price. The fund may also make forward commitments in which the fund agrees to buy or sell a security in the future at a price agreed upon today.
The fund is subject generally to interest rate, credit, liquidity, prepayment and extension risk (as to mortgage-related holdings), call, sector, and market risks, to varying degrees, all of which are more fully described in the fund's prospectus. Generally, all other factors being equal, bond prices are inversely related to interest-rate changes and rate increases can cause price declines.
High yield bonds are subject to increased credit risk and are considered speculative in terms of the issuer's perceived ability to continue making interest payments on a timely basis and to repay principal upon maturity.
Foreign bonds are subject to special risks including exposure to currency fluctuations, changing political and economic conditions, and potentially less liquidity.
Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the fund carefully before investing. Download a prospectus, or a summary prospectus, if available, that contains this and other information about the fund, and read it carefully before investing.