Rating agencies’ drawbacks come to light again
In times of crisis, markets understandably pay particular attention to the actions of credit rating agencies. For example, during the global financial crisis of 2008-09, the rating agencies were widely accused of failing to identify the widespread vulnerabilities in the financial system, reacting with “behind-the-curve” blanket downgrades. The … Read the article
Guest contributor – Simon Duff (Credit Analyst, M&G Credit Analysis team)
Last week, International TV network operator Discovery Communications announced the US$15bn acquisition of Scripps Networks. Scripps owns TV networks focused on food, home and travel, so it fits with the factual or “non-scripted” focus of Discovery’s core networks (Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet). It also offers an oppor… Read the article
We have frequently written about investment grade (IG) credit spreads over the course of the past year. Today I’m going to dissect the IG universe further and take a look at quality spreads, i.e., the additional risk premium investors can earn when switching from one credit rating band into the next lower band.
The chart below shows how the differential in asset swap (ASW) spread between AA and… Read the article
An overriding theme for U.S. high yield energy companies in the current oil price environment is having sufficient financial liquidity (cash, bank credit, etc.) to cover their obligations as earnings come under pressure due to low oil prices. Maintaining liquidity until oil prices recover will be paramount for energy companies to survive, even for those names that aren’t especially levered. It … Read the article
After years of inactivity, the combination of strong corporate balance sheets and cheap funding has sparked demand for takeover deals. The largest and highest profile deal this year has been the acquisition of H.J.Heinz by 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway. It is exactly the type of business that Berkshire Hathaway’s Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett typically goes for: profitable growth; a very … Read the article
In old Siam (now Thailand), kings would ruin unliked courtiers by presenting them with a white elephant – supposedly a badge of honour, but actually a dung producing money-pit. As Wikipedia describes it, nowadays a white elephant is an idiom for “a valuable but burdensome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of upkeep) is out of proportion to its useful… Read the article
I’d been feeling pretty pleased with myself since last Saturday – I managed to get Sky TV, broadband and a landline installed in my flat. That was until earlier today, when after discussing some of the recent activity in this sector with our telecoms and media analyst, I was left feeling something of a technology dinosaur.
These three services sold as a single package is called a “triple play” … Read the article
The worrying developments in South Africa in the past few months have caught the attention of the ratings agencies and the markets (see first chart). South Africa is one of very few emerging market countries whose credit rating is deteriorating; it’s still officially rated investment grade, but we think it should already carry a junk credit rating and the market is not pricing this in. And co… Read the article
Earlier this year, Stefan highlighted the potential for sovereign debt downgrades to push big European companies into high yield territory becoming “fallen angels”, issuers downgraded from investment grade to high yield. This is something the Financial Times has also recently picked up on. The chart below shows how near the average European sovereign ratings are to sub-investment grade.
Rating… Read the article
There were some reasons to be cheerful in today’s UK economic data – second quarter GDP growth wasn’t quite as bad as previously thought (the economy shrank by 0.4% rather than 0.5%), and stripping out the weak construction sector, the economy is growing at a reasonable (if below trend) rate.
But we also had news that the UK’s current account deficit showed a significant deterioration. The gap … Read the article