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  • Mon, Nov. 21, 4:12 PM
    • It's a small deal, but Conduent (the business processing outsourcing company being spun off by Xerox) had to raise the interest rate and lower the amount it was borrowing after failing to attract enough buyers.
    • Compass Point's Charles  Peabody says this could be "the canary in the coal mine" for the junk bond market.
    • What's more, junk bond issuance from the largest three underwriters is down 21% this year, and - while the yield curve has been steepening of late - Peabody is spotting the "infancy stages" of a spread widening trade.
    • Source: Bloomberg
    • Relavent ETFs: HYG, JNK, HIX, DHY, HYLD, PHT, EAD, HYT, JQC, CIK, DSU, HHY, SJB, NHS, ACP, PHF, FHY, MCI, KIO, ANGL, ARDC, VLT, CIF, AIF, MPV, MHY
    | Mon, Nov. 21, 4:12 PM | 2 Comments
  • Sun, Oct. 30, 2:54 PM
    • Babson Capital Participation Investors (NYSE:MPV) declares $0.27/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 7.16%
    • Payable Nov. 18; for shareholders of record Nov. 7; ex-div Nov. 3.
    | Sun, Oct. 30, 2:54 PM
  • Thu, Jul. 21, 5:19 AM
    • Babson Capital Participation Investors (NYSE:MPV) declares $0.27/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 7.23%
    • Payable Aug. 12; for shareholders of record Aug. 1; ex-div July 28.
    | Thu, Jul. 21, 5:19 AM
  • Tue, Jun. 21, 2:56 PM
    • Covenant quality tumbled to 4.56 in May from 3.8 the previous month, according to Moody's, which rates on a one-to-five scale, with five being the worst. It was the largest single-month change on record.
    • Marty Fridson calls the plunge "a discouraging setback," but notes it could be due to the large amount of higher-rated junk issued in May - those high-yield bonds with stronger ratings tend to have easier covenants than the really junky stuff.
    • More from Fridson: "The long-run trend of covenant quality since the 2011 inception of the Moody’s series has been dismayingly negative. That tendency has been abetted by the investment banks, which compete for underwriting mandates partly on the basis of devising new loopholes."
    • ETFs: HYG, JNK, HIX, DHY, HYLD, PHT, EAD, HYT, JQC, CIK, DSU, HHY, SJB, NHS, ACP, PHF, MCI, FHY, KIO, ARDC, ANGL, VLT, CIF, AIF, MPV, MHY, PCF, IVH, DHG, HYLS, JSD, UJB, GGM, CJNK, QLTC, HYIH, WFHY
    | Tue, Jun. 21, 2:56 PM | 5 Comments
  • Wed, May 25, 1:27 PM
    | Wed, May 25, 1:27 PM | 13 Comments
  • Wed, May 18, 11:52 AM
    • The recovery rate for high-yield bonds has been a super-low 13.9% thus far this year, according to Marty Fridson, continuing a trend begun last year when the recovery rate fell to 34%.
    • Source: Barron's
    • It's curious given the low default rate - just 2.83% in 2015 vs. the long-term average of 3.33%. Usually low default rates mean high recovery rates.
    • Fridson: "This outcome has generated anxiety among high-yield portfolio managers. Has some structural change taken place, they wonder, such that investors should expect lower average recovery rates over the remainder of the present credit cycle than in the past?"
    • Answering his own question, Fridson says special conditions associated with the energy crash along with one large, non-energy defaulter are behind the low recovery rate. For now, there's no clear evidence that recoveries on a more general basis are lower than they should be.
    • ETFs: HYG, JNK, HIX, DHY, HYLD, PHT, EAD, HYT, JQC, CIK, DSU, HHY, SJB, NHS, ACP, PHF, MCI, FHY, KIO, ARDC, ANGL, VLT, CIF, AIF, MPV, MHY, PCF, IVH, DHG, HYLS, JSD, UJB, GGM, CJNK, QLTC, HYIH
    | Wed, May 18, 11:52 AM | 8 Comments
  • Tue, May 10, 11:37 AM
    • Moody's now expects global speculative-grade defaults to hit 5% by the end of November - that's up from 4.6% forecast one month ago, and 3.8% prior to that.
    • Perhaps looking in the rearview mirror as it drives, the agency takes note of the oil price slump as continuing to put upward pressure on defaults. Being at least a tiny bit forward-looking, Moody's at least mentions tighter credit spreads of late as perhaps suggesting the default rate could taper.
    • Of 46 defaults recorded in the year's first four months, 18 were in oil and gas, and 9 in metals and mining.
    • In the U.S. the default rate for metals and mining companies is expected to rise to 11.5%; and for oil and gas to 10.3%.
    • ETFs: HYG, JNK, HIX, DHY, HYLD, PHT, EAD, HYT, JQC, CIK, DSU, HHY, SJB, NHS, ACP, PHF, MCI, FHY, KIO, ARDC, ANGL, VLT, CIF, AIF, MPV, MHY, PCF, IVH, DHG, HYLS, JSD, UJB, GGM, CJNK, QLTC, HYIH
    | Tue, May 10, 11:37 AM | 1 Comment
  • Fri, Apr. 22, 11:30 AM
    • After a tough start to the year, junk bonds are on a tear - now having returned 6% YTD, with the overall yield sliding to just 6.9% from 10% earlier in 2016.
    • The bigger action has been in the junkiest of the junk sectors, with paper rated CCC having returned a full 9% YTD, including that of low-grade energy companies having returned 10%.
    • The term "Goldilocks" has re-entered the lexicon, with bulls saying we've got an economy strong enough to prevent defaults, but not so strong as to warrant tighter monetary policy. The oil price crash? Yesterday's news, they say.
    • Marty Fridson says high-yield has returned to "extreme overvaluation" territory. Jeff Gundlach, however, calls junk bonds still somewhat cheap, though noting the high proportion of the lowest-quality paper being issued of late.
    • Bottom line, writes Robin Wigglesworth in the FT: The rally should continue if for no other reason than the world remains yield-starved.
    • ETFs: HYG, JNK, HIX, DHY, HYLD, PHT, EAD, HYT, JQC, CIK, DSU, HHY, SJB, NHS, ACP, PHF, MCI, FHY, KIO, ANGL, ARDC, VLT, CIF, AIF, MPV, MHY, PCF, DHG, IVH, HYLS, JSD, UJB, GGM, CJNK, QLTC
    • Now read: Pessimism Recedes (April 21)
    | Fri, Apr. 22, 11:30 AM | 5 Comments
  • Tue, Apr. 12, 12:48 PM
    | Tue, Apr. 12, 12:48 PM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Apr. 11, 3:23 PM
    • "Simply put, clients were not being compensated for credit risk," says the team of Matthew Mish and Stephen Caprio.
    • A slowdown in U.S. growth could be the catalyst that pricks the bubble, they say as speculative credits find it even more expensive to borrow.
    • It could be happening now as high-yield issuance is lower by 53% this year, and the lowest-grade paper (CCC ratings) yields 15.2% even after the big rally of the past couple of months.
    • If they're correct, the two say spreads to Treasurys could more than double to 16.4%. "Investors were herded into lower-quality credit risk for a yield pick-up of a couple hundred basis points ... But the fundamental problem is that the default risk is exponential, not linear in these securities."
    • ETFs: HYG, JNK, HIX, DHY, HYLD, PHT, EAD, HYT, JQC, CIK, DSU, HHY, SJB, NHS, ACP, PHF, MCI, FHY, KIO, ANGL, ARDC, VLT, CIF, AIF, MPV, MHY, PCF, DHG, IVH, HYLS, JSD, UJB, GGM, CJNK, QLTC
    | Mon, Apr. 11, 3:23 PM | 18 Comments
  • Wed, Mar. 23, 9:10 AM
    • There's typically very little relationship between the returns on non-energy junk bonds and the price of oil, but the correlation between the two has soared of late to an all-time high of nearly 0.65 (with 1.00 being an exact match), according to Deutsche Bank.
    • Non-energy junk bonds make up about 88% of the high-yield market, according to BAML, which says the tight linkage today means investors aren't paying enough attention to growing risks among junk issuers. Among them: As the price of oil rises, junk bond prices improve even as costs high-yield issuers like manufacturers and transportation companies.
    • ETFs: HYG, JNK, HIX, HYLD, DHY, PHT, EAD, HYT, JQC, CIK, DSU, HHY, SJB, PHF, NHS, FHY, ACP, MCI, KIO, VLT, ARDC, ANGL, CIF, AIF, MHY, PCF, MPV, DHG, HYLS, IVH, JSD, UJB, GGM, CJNK, QLTC
    | Wed, Mar. 23, 9:10 AM | 6 Comments
  • Fri, Mar. 18, 9:29 AM
    • With another week of inflows ($2.01B last week), U.S. high-yield funds have now recorded five straight weeks of inflows since what may or may not be a major bottom on Feb. 11. Over just the last four weeks, funds have drawn in $11.52B, the largest-ever one-month gain for that asset class, according to BAML.
    • BAML's Michael Contoupolos, however, pulls out the yellow flag: "The fundamental backdrop has not changed and defaults are in fact increasing ... These inflows are an over-reaction to transitory tailwinds ... The recent rally has limited staying power."
    • ETFs: HYG, JNK, HIX, HYLD, DHY, PHT, EAD, HYT, JQC, CIK, DSU, HHY, SJB, PHF, NHS, FHY, ACP, MCI, KIO, VLT, ARDC, ANGL, CIF, AIF, MHY, PCF, MPV, DHG, HYLS, IVH, JSD, UJB, GGM, CJNK, QLTC
    | Fri, Mar. 18, 9:29 AM | 13 Comments
  • Fri, Mar. 4, 7:42 AM
    | Fri, Mar. 4, 7:42 AM | 9 Comments
  • Wed, Mar. 2, 10:54 AM
    | Wed, Mar. 2, 10:54 AM | 7 Comments
  • Fri, Feb. 26, 11:13 AM
    • In another sign of the difficulties lower-rated credits are having with borrowing, Goldman Sachs (GS +2.1%) is having a hard time moving $2B in paper backing the buyout of Solera Holdings, reports the WSJ.
    • Solera late last year agreed to an LBO to Vista Equity Partners for $6.5B, including debt.
    • The bonds backing the sale carry an especially weak Caa1 rating from Moody's, and it's in these lower-rated tranches where the worst of the high-yield carnage has taken place. Demand "is really nonexistent now," says one portfolio manager.
    • Goldman had hoped to unload the Solera bonds at a price to yield about 10%, but by midday yesterday had only found buyers for about half of the paper, and pricing had moved above 11%.
    • As painful as it is for borrowers, it's also so for the banks which earn big fees from lending commitments - great when the bonds are easy to move, but a profit eater when the stuff has so sit on the books for very long. Goldman, in particular, has sought to boost market share in this part of the business against traditional powerhouses like Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM).
    • ETFs: HYG, JNK, HIX, HYLD, DHY, PHT, EAD, HYT, JQC, CIK, DSU, HHY, SJB, PHF, NHS, FHY, ACP, MCI, KIO, VLT, ARDC, ANGL, CIF, AIF, MHY, PCF, MPV, DHG, HYLS, IVH, JSD, UJB, GGM, CJNK, QLTC
    | Fri, Feb. 26, 11:13 AM | 3 Comments
  • Fri, Feb. 19, 3:46 PM
    • Eleven U.S. high-yield bond defaults have occurred this month, according to Fitch - the highest one-month count since September 2009.
    • The energy default rate is expected to finish above 9% in February (from 7.2% last month), and the exploration and production rate above 14% (from 11.3%).
    • Currently 41% of outstanding high-yield energy bonds are bid below 50 cents.
    • The mining sector doesn't look any better, with Arch Coal's January bankruptcy filing pushing the default rate to nearly 14% - the highest since 2002.
    • While energy and metals/mining have just $5.1B in debt maturing this year, then number soars to nearly $20B in 2017.
    • ETFs: HYG, JNK, HIX, HYLD, DHY, PHT, EAD, HYT, JQC, CIK, DSU, HHY, SJB, PHF, NHS, FHY, ACP, MCI, KIO, VLT, ARDC, ANGL, CIF, AIF, MHY, PCF, MPV, DHG, HYLS, IVH, JSD, UJB, GGM, CJNK, QLTC
    | Fri, Feb. 19, 3:46 PM | 6 Comments