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By Sumit Roy

The chart below is from our recent newsletter, and it shows the average yield to maturity on the Merrill Lynch High Yield (Junk) Master Index. At a current level of 5.24%, investors have never been paid less to own high-yield debt. Yields are so low, in fact, that five years ago the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury was higher than the current yield on junk bonds. In the chart below, the red dots on the blue line represent periods going back to 2000 where the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury was higher than the current yield on the High Yield Master Index. With yields this low, high-yield bonds are anything but high yielding.

(click to enlarge)

Source: High Yield Yields Less Than Treasuries 5 Years Ago